Amazon remitting Idaho sales tax could bring in millions

Posted at 1:31 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 13:10:13-04

Internet retail giant Amazon has agreed to charge and remit Idaho sales tax starting April 1. 

Online sales are already legally subject to sales tax in Idaho, but the state doesn't have a simple way to collect from out-of-state sellers. Consumers typically have to self-report and pay the taxes on their own as a use tax.

State officials have long suspected many people don't self-report, resulting in millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. 

Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, says the new agreement with Amazon could give Idaho as much as $15 million in sales tax revenue a year. 

"It's only going to affect Amazon at this point in time, and it's a big step because it puts pressure on other retailers," Clow said. 

Clow says he wishes the announcement from Amazon would have come earlier in the legislative session.

"I wish it had been announced in January instead of now, not for the extra revenue for the extra few months, but it would have made it easier to get some legislation in place," he said.

Earlier this session, Clow introduced House Bill 155. The bill would adjust Idaho code to change the definition of nexus to include businesses which use state services through retail partnerships or facilities. Currently, only businesses with nexus, or a physical presence in the state, are required to pay Idaho sales tax. 

The bill did not make it out of committee.

Idaho joins 40 other states and the District of Columbia on Amazon's state sales tax collection list.