Amazon To Arizona: You Want Sales Taxes? Get In Line

Amazon may be sprinting to get a strategic advantage when E-Commerce sales taxes finally kick in, but it's still in no hurry to pay up. Last week, in its annual 10-K report to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Amazon said Arizona has billed it for "approximately $53 million, including tax and interest, for uncollected tax for the periods March 1, 2006, through December 31, 2010." The "transaction privilege tax" bill was dated November 2011; apparently, the state's revenue department just realized those four Amazon distribution centers in Arizona belong to that company in Washington.

Yes, Amazon has to keep pretending its warehouses belong to a company completely separate from its online business. And the state has to do this little dance to start negotiations that will end up in an agreement that Amazon will start collecting Arizona sales tax on some future date or once a federal law kicks in. But wouldn't it be nice if, for once, both sides could just skip the inevitable lawsuit, lobbying and legislation and go straight to the back-room deal? Arizona is already so late to this game it'll be lucky just to get through one of those three Ls before Congress finally acts.