Amazon starts collecting local sales taxes on orders shipped to Steamboat Springs
April 13, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Some of the purchases Steamboat Springs residents are making on Amazon.com Inc. have gotten a bit more expensive after the online marketplace in January started collecting and remitting the city's 8.4 percent sales taxes on purchases.
Meanwhile, the city of Steamboat Springs has found the change is having a small but positive impact on its coffers each month.
Finance Director Kim Weber said the local sales tax charges on Amazon purchases shipped to Steamboat only apply to orders that are fulfilled by Amazon and not third party vendors the marketplace often uses to fulfill orders.
"Hayneedle isn't doing it," Weber said of the home furnishing store that sells products on Amazon.
Amazon is collecting local taxes on purchases shipped to other Colorado communities, too.
What caused the change in Steamboat?
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Weber said the city government didn't request the addition of local sales taxes on Amazon purchases.
She said online retailers must have a "nexus" or some sort of presence in the community to be legally required to collect and remit local sales taxes.
Weber said that presence could include sending delivery trucks into the community or having a distribution center or warehouse.
For example, she said American Furniture Warehouse collects and remits the local sales taxes in Steamboat because delivery trucks come and go from the city to make deliveries.
"From our standpoint, we don't think (Amazon) has a nexus here in Steamboat Springs, but they do, and they're collecting and remitting sales tax," Weber said.
She suggested Amazon might have salespeople living in the community or have some other presence.
Weber said she couldn’t comment on how much extra revenue the city has received since the change was made in late January.
That info would be proprietary, she said.
But she did say the local taxes on Amazon purchases accounted for less than 1 percent of the 6.6 percent, or $156,813 increase in sales tax revenue the city saw in February.
According to the city’s latest preliminary sales tax report, the greatest revenue gains over last February came from marijuana sales, which jumped 14 percent, and miscellaneous retail sales, which were up 7.7 percent over last year.