Dear Amazon...don't bother

I understand the situation. I know it wouldn't be easy for you to charge and collect sales tax on North Carolina purchases. I know it's a pain in the ass. It's a pain for the rest of us.

By closing my affiliate's account, you have not only lost me as a potential seller, you've lost me as a customer. But, it isn't the actual closing of the account that has cost you my business. It's the dishonesty and the hyperbole.

This isn't a tax scheme. It isn't unconstitutional.

Buh bye, Amazon.

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account has been closed as of June 26, 2009. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme expected to be passed any day now by the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) and signed by the governor. As a result, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to or after June 26. We were forced to take this unfortunate action in anticipation of actual enactment because of uncertainties surrounding the legislation’s effective date.
Please be assured that all qualifying referral fees earned prior to June 26, 2009 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with our regular referral fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 26, 2009, any final payments will be paid by September 1, 2009.
In the event that North Carolina repeals this tax collection scheme, we would certainly be happy to re-open our Associates program to North Carolina residents.
The North Carolina General Assembly’s website is, and additional information may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance at
We have enjoyed working with you and other North Carolina-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.

Best Regards,
The Amazon Associates Team


My sentiments exactly

Or perhaps this shorter version:

Screw you, Amazon.

I'm with you 1000% on this Betsy. Last year I purchased several thousand dollars worth of products through Amazon. Next year that number will be zero.

I like your version better


Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Politically, didn't Amazon just lose their leverage?

Why do this now?

The General Assembly now has nothing to lose by enacting this tax, since Amazon has already closed the affliate program in NC.

What am I missing?


Good for Amazon!

It's about time more companies started standing up to the bootjacks in govt. NC sucks and is becoming the CA of the east.

This isn't a tax scheme. It isn't unconstitutional.

Umm could you be more specific about the "unconstitutionality" of this, Betsy? Love it when Dems say that since they bastardize the constitution whenever it serves their purposes...

I'll certainly be doing more shopping with Amazon!

Government crises are usually manufactured to pick your pocket.


I love it when anonymous commenters with guns fetishes promote the rights of corporations to avoid taxes, thereby shifting more burden onto working people.

Amazon is full of shit. There is nothing whatsoever unconstitutional about the legislation, as they are finding out the hard way in New York.

You should learn to read.

Corporations don't pay taxes.

Corporations don't pay taxes. People pay taxes.

Speaking of working people, there will be fewer of them now that their affiliate income has been cut off.

I would say the constitutionality is up in the air. Do the Feds or the state determine whether a physical presence exists? Previously, it has been the Feds and the Supreme Court that have molded that definition. NY is challenging that, and NC and a few others are looking to follow suit. I would definitely think a case could be made either way.

For that matter, corporations don't do anything!

They don't do lobbying ... people do lobbying!
They don't pollute ... their employees pollute!
They don't break the law ... their executives break the law!
They don't destroy communities ... people destroy communities.

This reminds me that I once called for the elimination of corporations completely. If we extend your thinking, they should have no legal status or rights whatsoever. That would be peachy as far as I'm concerned.

I can't argue with that. We'd

I can't argue with that. We'd certainly see a lot of companies become better citizens.

Anonymous Commenter

You're right, James...I did misread Betsy's comments. Regarding your other assertions: my name is David Sparling and I'm a 3rd generation Charlottean who is sick and tired of the liberal Chapel Hill mentality stealing the fruits of our labors. This is understandable however since many who live there feed at the govt trough.

Gun fetish, nope. I own a few and am proficient with them but I don't consider it a fetish, just a right.

Amazon is not full of s**t as you assert, they are just trying to save their customers some money and their company endless headaches. I have no problem with the "affiliates" paying income tax on their earnings, but let's face it, James, this is just another anti-corporate end around tax from bureaucrats in Raleigh who don't know how to trim a budget in tough economic times.

Government crises are usually manufactured to pick your pocket.

Thanks for introducing yourself

I was commenting on your avatar, which would be amusing except for the propensity of right-wing government haters to resort to vigilante tactics.

For the record, I've started and run five successful businesses over the last 20 years ... and have nothing against private enterprise whatsoever.

Honestly, I don't think we pay enough in taxes. And yet at the same time, I don't think we get our money's worth out of what we do pay. The answer in my view is to get more and smarter people into government ... so that government can compete head to head with businesses where that makes sense. Healthcare is one such area.

And just to be clear, I don't want any fruits of your labors. I just you to carry your fair share of load.

Welcome to BlueNC.

"Honestly, I don't think we pay enough in taxes"

Really! Well I pay more than 50% of my income in Fed, State, sales, excise, etc., etc. How exactly is that "fair"?

I am penalized for having no children and choosing to rent as opposed "owning" a home. I could go on and on, but won't on this thread.

Regarding the avatar, I liked the whole premise behind Robert Woodward's portrayal of an ex CIA type who championed the causes of people who were bullied, etc. I would think that you would too!

Government crises are usually manufactured to pick your pocket.


More than 50%? That's hard to imagine. Would love to hear more.


PS I'm an ex-special-operations pacifist.

I don't have an axe to grind here, but 50%

is about right if you don't have a mortgage interest deduction and you're paying 25-30% on AGI.

Federal = 25-30%.
SS and Medicare = @9-16% (self employed = the higher)
State income tax =7-8%
Sales Tax = @7%

and if you add in all the "excise taxes" and misc. taxes and so on (see your phone bill, for example) it's not hard to get to 50%.

If Greg's earlier post about the UNC booster club getting $10 Mil is correct, then as far as i'm concerned we don't need ANY tax increase and are already paying $10 Mil too much...just for starters.

Stan Bozarth

Rough math

Federal = 25-30%.
SS and Medicare = @9-16% (self employed = the higher)
State income tax =7-8%
Sales Tax = @7%

This type of exercise is more than a little misleading.

I mean, you didn't add in any rounded property tax percentages or other items.

Make a list that way and you could get over 100% in "taxes."

Of course, that's mathematically impossible, but why worry about such things?

I'm sure someone will figure out a way to tell me I'm paying 60%, 80%, or 120% in taxes. I'm just not stupid enough to believe them.

The credit math is an interesting line of thought too. But what about untaxed health care premiums or other benefits paid by employers? Shouldn't that count against the percentage too and bring it down? How about my use of any tax-exempt facility (church, college, etc)?


I'm not misleading anyone

and I couldn't possibly know what percent of one's income their property taxes might be and they are also deductible items so it's a moot point. I'm sure one could also say that some portion of home/apt rent goes towards taxes because it surely does... just not deductible except to the owner.

All the numbers above are, close enough for government work. Yes, the income tax structure is tiered and so on... different for joint and single...and so on...I am just illustrating that 50% isn't that hard to get to.

You can stop with the sarcasm and BS, too. Or, not. You create your own image.

Stan Bozarth

Dismissing sharp truth as sarcasm and BS

I'm just following the logical thought you laid out.

Indeed, this argument was put forth on the floor of the NC House of Representatives by Rep. Rhyne (R-Lincoln) not 24 hours ago when talking about this very topic (taxes in NC).

It was as false then as it is now.

Adding up a "tax burden" in a cherry-picking fashion can get you to any percentage you want to make any political argument you want.

The illumating light of my sarcastic (?) foray into "tax-burden addition logic" was intentionally pointed because no one seems to question it when such an analysis is offered up.

It is the totality of the cost-benefit package that one should study.

Such a comparison wasn't done by Rep. Rhyne or in your mini-sample analysis.

Even considering that your post was a merely response to a previous post about "getting to 50%"...that was precisely the point I'm making about not considering the whole picture.

No credit is given for tax-free use of other items or untaxed benefits or what the taxes provide that you don't pay for (think: toll roads and the like).

When the chicken littles of taxation cry the sky is falling, I'm happy to tell them it's not.


Excuse me?

The IRS tax code decides what is and is not taxable. I have no idea what you might think "tax free use." is or how it's value might be computed...and don't really care. Using the tax LAWS and rates proscribed by law it's not hard to get to a 50% number under the specific circumstances described by the person above. I am referring to the actual taxes we pay on our taxable income....State local and federal and the other miscellaneous taxes we pay that are insidious yet substantial.

You might note I did not say anything about how I felt about this topic. I simply provided some math. It was not and is not an argument. If you want to argue...find somebody else.

Stan Bozarth

Here's why this tax is unconstitutional

What Makes Affiliate Tax (aka “Amazon Tax”) Unconstitutional «

Short Answer: The Supreme Court once ruled that “you cannot hold a catalog company responsible for collecting out-of-state sales tax” [source].

Long Answer: Looking back at the 1992 Quil Corporation versus North Dakota case we see that back then the Supreme Court held that taxing an out-of-state business violates the “Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the Constitution” which “prohibit a State from imposing the duty of use tax collection and payment upon a seller whose only connection with the State is through common carrier or the United States mail”. Therefore, it is being said that an e-tailer must have a physical presence in the state to be required to collect a sales tax; and since the decision that set a precedent was made by the Supreme Court, it is also being held “that only Congress, through legislation, could delegate broader powers to the states” [source].

Will it help states raise the money that they are looking to raise? The answer is definitely negative [more here].

If i were an affected affiliate I'd just move to Tennessee since they voted against this type of scheme.


So even if this legislation might once upon a time have been judged unconstitutional, the whole business if up for grabs now. Internet commerce is rewriting its own rules and public policy and law will be changing right along with it.

My bet is that in ten years the entire country will have evolved to a much more fair and balanced taxing policy that will level the playing field ... so that local retailers will lose some of the disadvantages they currently suffer from global internet channels.

I'm an affected affiliate and am completely supportive of the legislature's move.