Looks like Georgia is next in line to force Amazon to collect sales tax for items sold to residents. I hate the whole sales tax mess, but as a seller, it would truly be easier (and some would say: fairer) if there was a general online sales tax that applied for every state. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a short article about what lawmakers are doing to force the issue, at least for that state.
And in order to try to get some consistency out of the entire thing, Amazon has hired Patton Boggs to fight for legislation that would allow states to collect sales taxes anywhere in the US. This may sound anti-Amazon, but I do believe it would help clean up the morass that is now online sales tax collections. Of course, there are those (few) states that don’t have a sales tax. The article in LegalTimes doesn’t address that situation.
Away from money stuff for a short time: Amazon has a new video transcoding service, the intent of which appears to be building the next YouTube. Transcoding is what makes a video online from what you upload. Further discussion for geeks 🙂 at webmonkey.com.
Back to boring, for those who aren’t interested in stocks (sorry, but this is what most everybody is talking about since the figures are recently out): There’s good news and bad news for Amazon.com financially. The good news? Sales for the fourth quarter went up by 22% over fourth quarter 2011. But the bad news? Their profit was down by 45%. They still made $97 million, but were expected to make at least earnings of 27 cents per share, instead of the 21 cents per share they ended up with. A discussion of their fastest-growing departments (surprise! Kindle!) and more analysis is at LaTimes.com.
And now, if you don’t mind a short personal update: I caught a virus, apparently, on the cruise. (But, also good news: I sat on the lizard in Grand Cayman without falling off!) While I made the drive home fine on Sunday (thank goodness), Monday was one very miserable day. Yesterday and today, now that I am feeling better, I have been frantically catching up with my real-world responsibilities as a CPA: year-end tax stuff. So, if you paid any attention at all, (and I know you have better things to think about), I have been way off in my posting lately. I do hope to be able to pick up the pace again soon, if not immediately. Immediately is my goal.
Thanks much for your patience!