by Max Brantley
I haven't found a link myself, but Jason Tolbert Twitters this morning that Amazon has announced that it will end its "associates" program in Arkansas because of the new state law that will impose the Arkansas sales tax on sales made through Arkansas associates.
Arkansas retailers have put an Amazon link on their websites and received a commission from sales arising from those links. The new law taxes sales originating in Arkansas, a half step toward the better solution of applying sales taxes in all jurisdictions to all sales, web or otherwise. But this is a solution possible only through federal law. Meanwhile, Walmart and other multi-state operations with both on-line and in-state presences that require tax payment, have been pushing for laws such as that passed in Arkansas.
Here's an overview of the Amazon battle. If it has pulled out here, it would be in keeping with decisions elsewhere and not unexpected. You can, of course, still order whatever you want directly from Amazon and not pay a sales tax. The Amazon law doesn't take effect in Arkansas until October.
UPDATE: Still no company news release available, but an Arkansas affiliate has shared the email that Amazon is sending out to Arkansas affiliates, which says the commissioin program will end here July 24:
Subject: Notice of Upcoming Contract Termination Due to New Arkansas Law
For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with a large number of Arkansas residents. Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by Governor Beebe compels us to terminate this program for Arkansas-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by Arkansas-based affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.
We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that its enactment forces this action. The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on Arkansas residents like you were explained to the legislature, including Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Governor's staff.
As a result of the new law, contracts with all Arkansas residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated on July 24, 2011. Those Arkansas residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.comPlease be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before July 24, 2011 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.
You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Arkansas. If you are not currently a resident of Arkansas, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state after July 24, 2011, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.
To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to continue to offer the Associates Program to Arkansas residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from www.amazon.com [ http://www.amazon.com/ ].
We have enjoyed working with you and other Arkansas-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Arkansas residents.
The Amazon Associates Team