Amazon’s $53 million Arizona state tax bill

It’s tax season again, and is facing a $53 million tax bill from the state of Arizona.

Amazon disclosed in a February 1st Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Arizona had issued it a $53 million assessment “for uncollected tax for the periods of March 1, 2006 through December 31, 2010,” and that the state was alleging the company “should have collected a transaction tax that is similar to a sales tax on applicable transactions during those years.”  Amazon stated that it will fight the tax.  It will likely rely heavily on the 1992 Quill v. North Dakota Supreme Court decision, which held that a state cannot force a retailer to add sales tax to orders if the retailer has no physical presence in the state.

Amazon is facing another tax-related battle in Arizona, as just this week the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee unanimously endorsed Senate Bill 1338, which would tax the internet sales of any company with a distribution center in Arizona.  Amazon has four distribution centers in the state.

Although taxes are no laughing matter (which is probably why they are paired with death in many jokes),  to get a few tax-related chuckles, peruse these tax quotes on the website of the Internal Revenue Service.