Amazon tax shift has Louisiana shoppers considering change

Amazon tax shift has Louisiana shoppers considering change

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Like many shoppers, Darnelle Nunez shifted to more purchases over the years because of the convenience and cheaper price, a trend she believes shoppers will continue to do but elsewhere.

"It's a God given talent we have, find the lowest price and go with that company," Nunez said.

Starting in the new year, Amazon will allow the state to collect state and local taxes on items the company sells in Louisiana.

"I know that the taxes would go for a good reason, but to the consumer this is negative," Nunez said.

"It means the people of Louisiana are going to pay in the tens of millions of dollars. A lot of people shop on Amazon and now, they're just going to have to add ten percent to their bill," newly-elected U.S. Senator John Kennedy said.

The sales tax will depend on the buyer's location. Currently, those taxes are not included, making the price cheaper and more enticing.

Amazon voluntarily decided to make the change. Other online vendors have not.

"The law is very clear in my opinion, and I used to collect taxes for Louisiana, that an out-of-state vendor without...a big physical presence in your state does not have collect your sales tax, and Amazon has just up and said we voluntarily agree to do it. For the life of me, I don't know why they would agree to do that," Kennedy said.

Louisiana buyers are suppose to claim and pay the online sales tax when filing their taxes at the end of the year, but an overwhelming majority are not doing that.

"The line has a less than one percent compliance rate," Kenner Representative Julie Stokes said. "People talk about purchases made online sales tax as being a new tax, but in essence it's on your Louisiana tax return now. If you're not putting it on your tax return now, you're actually breaking the law."

It is estimated the new move will rake in $30 million dollars a year for Louisiana.

"It's not going to make or break, but it is a trend that you're seeing emerge that Amazon would do this," Stokes said.

"This money isn't just falling from heaven. It's coming out of our people's pockets," Kennedy said.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.