April 20, 2010

Amazon Sues North Carolina to Protect Customer Data is suing to stop the NC Department of Revenue to block the state from collecting individual customer data:

Amazon contends in the suit that it routinely provides the Revenue Department with "voluminous information" about its sales to North Carolina as part of routine audits of the company's compliance with sales and use tax laws. The information includes the date and total price of each transaction, the city, county and ZIP code to which each item was shipped and Amazon's standard product code for each item, which allows officials to see the description of every product purchased.

In March, however, the Revenue Department threatened to hold a civil contempt hearing for Amazon if the company doesn't also turn over the names and addresses of anybody in North Carolina who has purchased goods off its website since August 2003, according to the suit. The company said that amounts to nearly 50 million purchases.

"If Amazon is forced to comply with this demand, the disclosure will invade the privacy and violate the First Amendment rights of Amazon and its customers on a massive scale," the suit states. "The (Revenue Department) does not need personally identifiable information
about Amazon's customers in order to audit Amazon's compliance with state tax laws. All it needs to know is what items Amazon sold to North Carolina customers and what they paid, and Amazon has already provided that information."

This would seem to be a significant invasion of privacy by the Department of Revenue, and I will be very interested to see if they can find a reasonable way to justify this intrusion.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 20, 2010 11:38 AM

NC DOR pretty clearly wants to go back and make us pay taxes (and penalties) on our past purchases from out of state.

The beast, after all, must be fed. It is hungry and insatiable.

Posted by: Russ at April 20, 2010 12:26 PM

Money. Every law we have comes down to money. It is sick. Gett government out of our lives. Many of us are ready to push them out. Tick tock...

Posted by: Odins Acolyte at April 20, 2010 01:43 PM

It's all about the money. The state government has destroyed NC business by excessive taxation, and now want to tax state residents on online purchases to refill the plundered state coffers. Of course, we're now in the top ten highest state taxes in the country, and approaching that for unemployment, but rather than cut spending, we'll just tax the people who still have jobs for purchases that aren't supposed to be taxed. Love this place...NOT!

Posted by: Candy at April 20, 2010 03:43 PM

this is a perfect example of why gov. tax men go to hell when they die//////

just kidding.... sure one or two might make it into purgatory instead.

Posted by: rumcrook¾ at April 20, 2010 06:23 PM

When you use your computer to purchase goods and services, you effectively turn your terminal into a store. Is it not right then for the state to charge taxes on your purchases?

Posted by: Steve Schwab at April 21, 2010 06:08 AM

Wow. I thought they were talking about California when I saw that. My bad!

Posted by: TimothyJ at April 22, 2010 09:51 AM