walletGovernor Deval Patrick and Amazon announced that Amazon will collect and remit sales tax in Massachusetts starting next fall, and that they will work together toward enactment of federal legislation to resolve the sales tax issue by creating an equitable and simple framework for collecting sales taxes. No mention was made in the Administration’s press release of the other online retailers that currently do not collect and remit sales tax in the state. Amazon did announce in the statement that they plan to create hundreds of high tech jobs in Massachusetts in coming years, although no further specifics about those potential jobs were mentioned. The announcement will certainly be considered a positive move by the Patrick/Murray administration.

“I value the contributions large and small employers alike make to Massachusetts’ economic vitality, and this agreement captures that,” said Governor Patrick. “We are thankful Amazon was willing to come to the table and we will continue our conversations with them about creating jobs here. This agreement is a win for all sides, and I am pleased it promises to generate millions in long-term revenue for the Commonwealth.”

Governor Patrick reiterated his support for the federal legislation to resolve the sales tax issue and encouraged Congress to act on the measure.

“We appreciate Governor Patrick’s commitment to Massachusett’s jobs and investment and his support for legislation now before Congress that would provide a final resolution to the sales tax issue,” said Paul Misener, Amazon vice president of global public policy. “We look forward to creating hundreds of high tech jobs in Massachusetts and continuing to work with Governor Patrick, state leaders, retailers and Congress to pass federal legislation permitting interstate sales tax collection. Federal legislation is the only way to level the playing field for all sellers, the only way for states to obtain more than a fraction of the sales tax revenue that is already owed, and the only way to fully protect states’ rights.”

“Governor Patrick and I value the strength of small businesses across the Commonwealth, and this agreement is an important step in keeping the Massachusetts business climate competitive while generating important revenue for critical services like education and public safety,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

“I appreciate Amazon’s willingness to work with us to reach an agreement that will benefit both the Commonwealth’s businesses and Massachusetts taxpayers,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “However, Massachusetts and other states will receive the majority of the revenue owed only when Congress passes federal legislation, and we encourage Congress to act.”

The Patrick-Murray Administration re-iterated that they continue to support federal legislation allowing states to require remote sellers, including Internet retailers, to collect and remit sales tax. Legislation currently before Congress would create a simple and equitable framework for sales tax collection to protect state’s rights, allow states to collect all of the revenue owed, and resolve the sales tax issue for states, consumers and retailers.

The agreement will take effect on November 1, 2013.

By R. Harvey Bravman