Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

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Lance
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Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Lance » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:48 pm

Most of us order recordings from Amazon, either directly from them or from third-party sellers. Some of these recordings come from out of the country (England, Germany, Japan, etc., and many other countries). The shipment comes to me in New York State, which, in our area, carries an 8% sales tax. Now EVERY order, no matter from whence it cometh, Amazon is charging the full 8%. It used to be that if a company, such as Amazon or eBay had a physical presence in New York, then sales tax (full 8%) would be charged. Amazon does NOT have a physical presence in this state (yet, Cuomo may have squashed that), but the state requires to charge and collect the sales tax. When I receive a CD or set from Amazon (sold on their American site), but the supplier is in England, why should I be paying a sales tax on that item? Amazon only PROCESSES the order; they do supply the goods. Tell me, what am I missing in all of this?

It is understandable when Amazon was NOT charging taxes outside of New York State from other states or countries, the state would be losing important and considerable revenue, which in this state is huge given NYC's and the states overall population. Another friend said to me: "If you can afford to buy the item, you should also be paying the tax!" I have no problem paying the tax IF I buy it in New York State.

It was good while it lasted NOT to have to pay tax on many items, but now it is on every item Amazon processes. Does Amazon actually pay each state that has a sales tax for orders that are shipped from other states or countries or does the supplier pay it, and if so, how do we know it is actually paid?

I think people will be taking a look at their total purchases over a year (from Amazon) - of which 8% could be a hefty sum. Will Amazon be the loser as people rethink their purchases? I have already deleted some items I wanted (some pricey, just to avoid the sales tax.) Frankly, New York State taxes everything, even the food we eat in restaurants! Interestingly, I was paying $2.21/gallon for has in South Carolina when that same gallon in New York State was very close to $3/gallon. That is a considerable difference. No wonder people are leaving New York in droves!

And let it be said that I fully understand why tax revenue is important to give residents the road care, bridges, and protection we enjoy. It is just that New York is TAX-HEAVY!
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John F
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by John F » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:09 pm

It's the law. From Amazon Tax (Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_tax)

In 2008, New York passed a law that would force online retailers to collect sales taxes on shipments to state residents] Shortly after the law was signed, Amazon filed a complaint in the New York Supreme Court objecting to the law. The complaint wasn't based on whether in-state customers should pay tax, but upon the long-standing practice of it being the responsibility of the customer to report the sales tax (known as use tax in this case) and not that of the out-of-state businesses. The lawsuit was tossed out of court in January 2009, when New York State Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten stated "there is no basis upon which Amazon can prevail."

As of 2011 Overstock.com is suing New York state to prevent being required to collect sales taxes on goods shipped to New York residents. In order to comply with the physical presence requirement of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota the law targets out-of-state retailers who make use of New York-based affiliates. Overstock.com argues that the use of affiliates is not enough to meet the physical presence test and that the law thus violates the Commerce Clause. In addition to filing suit, Overstock.com has terminated its 3,400 affiliates in New York.

In early 2017, Governor Cuomo proposed that sales tax collection be applied to Amazon's "Marketplace" operations. In April 2017, Amazon began collecting sales tax in the state.

More on https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/24/1505 ... all-states.

Incidentally, New York State does not tax everything. The groceries we buy in stores aren't taxed, nor are newspapers and magazines, clothing and shoes under $110, prescription drugs, Medical equipment/supplies for home use, and other necessities of life. Eating in a restaurant doesn't qualify. :mrgreen:

Sales tax has no effect on what I buy online or where I buy it. Why should it? Of course if I still bought mass quantities of records it might be different, but in the pre-Internet days I bought LPs by the dozens and paid whatever sales or value added tax I had to. If I passed up a record because it would have busted my budget, so be it - there are worse fates.
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Rach3 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:50 am

You can search and read the 2018 US Supreme Court Wayfair case which I think has done away with physical nexus and now requires only economic nexus for State tax laws,some commentators opining Wayfair would apply to sales tax even though I think Wayfair itself was an income tax case.

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by John F » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:35 am

If you mean South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., 585 U.S., it seems to be entirely about sales tax, according to the Wikipedia article.
Wikipedia wrote:The court held by a 5-4 majority that states may charge tax on purchases made from out-of-state sellers, even if the seller does not have a physical presence in the taxing state. The decision overturned Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992), which had held that the Dormant Commerce Clause barred states from compelling retailers to collect sales or use taxes in connection with mail order or Internet sales made to their residents unless those retailers have a physical presence in the taxing state... A five-justice majority overturned Quill, ruling that the physical presence rule decided from Quill was "unsound and incorrect" in the current age of Internet services.
It's still up to each state to decide whether to require these sales taxes. Except for the five which have no sales tax at all (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon), apparently they all have. Lance, if you want to dodge sales tax you can move to Montana. :mrgreen: As for the NY state and city sales tax, it could be worse; eight states have higher sales taxes than here.
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:44 am

Montana is a lovely state, but not a good state for me at this age! [New Hampshire could be a possibility, but doubtful, nonetheless. Alaska? No way.] I just think the whole tax situation has gotten out of control. I pay my taxes, willingly, because it is my duty. Widespread Internet buying, however, has changed the way the world lives now and I presume that in order to keep the states "going" financially, it has been found necessary to collect these taxes to continue to provide services to residents. While I'm a Prime member on Amazon, I am waiting to see the postal charges raise again for third party purchases, which will make competitive pricing change. Perhaps we will see the return of brick and mortar stores again. All of the record stores locally are out of business around here. Even my favourites in NYC have disappeared. I'm glad I have what I have in the way of music -- way too much of it anyway -- and I have saved $$$ substantially until Amazon and other on-liners changed their policies. Will I continue to buy? Most likely, but will be searching for lower base pricing! :lol:
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by maestrob » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:58 am

Amazon has already begun to assert its monopolistic power in some of its pricing. I have found substantial discounts on many items by comparing with Presto Classical, which is based in England. They charge $4.95 or so for shipping by air from England, with no American sales tax and of course no VAT. I've saved considerable $$$ by checking with them when I feel amazon's price is too high. Worth checking out, for sure.

Like John, I don't buy much these days, but I still like to get the best price! 8)

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by John F » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:31 pm

People aren't buying physical disks any longer. Recently I read that only 20% of music sales are CDs, the rest are downloads and streams. Add to this that classical music is about 5% of the music market. The record stores went out of business for a reason, and I'm sure they aren't coming back, at least not in the US.
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by maestrob » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:07 am

John F wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:31 pm
People aren't buying physical disks any longer. Recently I read that only 20% of music sales are CDs, the rest are downloads and streams. Add to this that classical music is about 5% of the music market. The record stores went out of business for a reason, and I'm sure they aren't coming back, at least not in the US.
Record stores went out of business because they took on too much debt from their suppliers, and therefore could not compete with amazon as rents for stores rose. Tower tried to do website sales as their stores were closing, but they failed altogether as CD sales dropped and they declared bankruptcy.

Amazon has eaten the world of CD and DVD sales, just gobbled up the market here in the U. S. It has offered some CDs at outrageous prices lately, and not just box sets but individual titles as well. If 20% of the popular market is still CDs, that's still sizable enough to warrant carrying them. My instincts though tell me that classical collectors are like book collectors: we like to own physical product with informative notes on the contents.

I check amazon regularly to see if certain titles I own are still in print, and usually (95%) I find them available at reasonable prices, so that's encouraging. The days of mega-boxes seem to be coming to an end, however, but my experience is that great performances are still available. In fact, I have over 150 CDs on my want list, and they remain available to this day. Presto Classical also has a depth of catalog at reasonable prices (sometimes better than amazon), so I shop there as well.

MY point is that I believe that classical CDs are here to stay, just as hardbound books survived the paperback revolution. I certainly hope so.

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by John F » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:03 pm

maestrob wrote:If 20% of the popular market is still CDs, that's still sizable enough to warrant carrying them.
Evidently not in the U.S., or there would be at least a few retailers around. (I believe there still are record stores in Europe and Japan, but haven't verified that.) There are other online sources besides amazon.com, such as discogs.com, and perhaps by shopping around it's possible to save some money. But there's nowhere we can go and browse what's available, buying on impulse. I miss that.

Companies take on debt expecting that their business will be profitable enough to service it if not retire it altogether. If debt is what sank Tower Records, it must have been because of the decline in their retail business, and that was chiefly due to downloads to the iPod and such and streaming taking the place of physical discs. Of course they also had new competition from online vendors, chiefly amazon, and failed to develop their own competitive online businesses in time.
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:02 pm

Well, whatever happens will happen. I do not stream or download and like Brian/Maestrob, I want the physical product. I only hope CD PLAYERS will remain in the market place for years to come and hope they don't go the way of cassette tape players. Many people really miss the convenience of cassettes. Vinyl seems to doing well, but apparently not in the classical music areas. In any event, I have enough CDs (and LPs) that can last another whole lifetime. If CDs were no longer produced, I would be very content {or so I think!] with what I have amassed and still never get through it all.

Insofar as mega-sets (complete works of artists) are concerned, who is left to do? Barbirolli, Beecham (already plenty released and now being withdrawn), Koussevitzky, many singers, perhaps a few pianists and other instrumentalists. Unfortunately, present-day listeners (young people) hardly know any of these names WE hold in the highest esteem. When I talk with college students and mention names like Moiseiwitsch, Hess, Kapell, and myriad others, they haven't the foggiest of whom I speak. They are missing so much as "music lovers."

It is said everything comes full circle. Maybe with recorded music, perhaps not. If we live long enough, however, and much of the catalogues of labels disappear, we might go into the "copy" business for people looking for things (for a reasonable price), though it might be illegal. Might be? It is in the USA but no so in Europe. [Think of the Membran/Intense boxes usually copied from LPs or other CDs, as a for instance, or Scribendum among many others.]
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John F
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by John F » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:38 pm

Actually, there are plenty of cassette tape players on the market, mainly portable but some components as well:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=cassette+tapes+player

And I'm sure there will be lots of CD players too, as long as we're alive and a good deal longer.
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:27 am

This may seem overly cautious, but I keep a spare CD changer in its box in storage. I've pretty much given up on cassettes: I have all the music I want available on CDs in better sound, and thus have no use for them. About 8 years ago, I bought a component player that could transfer cassettes to CDs, and did so with my few favorites that I had not found issued on CD. Unfortunately, many of the commercial cassettes that used cheaper mechanisms (even from major labels) failed to play properly, so I lost those, sadly.

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Lance » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:51 pm

I too have a couple of spares (one older one, one newer) that I save for "just in case." Smart thing to do. I guess we can still buy LP turntables given the vinyl comeback, but I also have a couple of very good ones that, quite honestly, don't get used much when CDs are my main source for music today.
maestrob wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:27 am
This may seem overly cautious, but I keep a spare CD changer in its box in storage. I've pretty much given up on cassettes: I have all the music I want available on CDs in better sound, and thus have no use for them. About 8 years ago, I bought a component player that could transfer cassettes to CDs, and did so with my few favorites that I had not found issued on CD. Unfortunately, many of the commercial cassettes that used cheaper mechanisms (even from major labels) failed to play properly, so I lost those, sadly.
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by THEHORN » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:24 pm

I don't know if arkivmusic.com charges this tax . So why not try it if it doesn't ? They specialize in classical CD and DVDs and have a huge selection, including many classical CDs which are very hard to find .

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by maestrob » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:38 pm

THEHORN wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:24 pm
I don't know if arkivmusic.com charges this tax . So why not try it if it doesn't ? They specialize in classical CD and DVDs and have a huge selection, including many classical CDs which are very hard to find .
Good idea! Unfortunately, they tend to be on the expensive side, compared to Presto, but their selection is enormous, so it's a good idea to check them for rare recordings, especially since they manufacture their own individual burns of OOP items.

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Beckmesser » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:09 pm

It's not the sales taxes that bother me.

I recently received a shipment from Amazon and three out of four jewel boxes were damaged in some way. The hinge on one box had broken off and so the two pieces no longer fit together.

I wish Amazon would take greater care in packing CDs for shipment.

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by maestrob » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:22 am

Beckmesser wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:09 pm
It's not the sales taxes that bother me.

I recently received a shipment from Amazon and three out of four jewel boxes were damaged in some way. The hinge on one box had broken off and so the two pieces no longer fit together.

I wish Amazon would take greater care in packing CDs for shipment.
Agreed. Their third party sellers usually pack with more care, I find. OTOH, Presto Classical (which I use as an alternate source) always uses bubble wrap inside a larger box. I've never had a problem with any of their shipments, and the price is usually better, especially when you figure in the American tax. One note: Amazon's overseas suppliers never charge sales tax, I've found, at least so far.

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Re: Buying music (CDs) from Amazon - and taxes!

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:04 pm

Yes, Arkiv does charge tax. Their distribution is from Pennsylvania, as I recall. But they often have the product sent directly from the prime distributor still labeled as Arkiv.
THEHORN wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:24 pm
I don't know if arkivmusic.com charges this tax . So why not try it if it doesn't ? They specialize in classical CD and DVDs and have a huge selection, including many classical CDs which are very hard to find .
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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