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Amazon to start collecting sales tax on Oklahoma purchases

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin says online retail giant Amazon will begin collecting sales tax on purchases made by Oklahoma customers, a move she says is estimated to bring “tens of millions of dollars” into state and local coffers.

Fallin announced on Thursday that Amazon will begin collecting sales taxes March 1, 2017, and that the money will begin flowing into the state in May.

She says the revenue will not affect this year’s current $870 million budget hole, because the Tax Commission already projected some increased collections as a result of their negotiations with Amazon.

But the governor says she expects cities and towns will see an increase this fiscal year in the amount they receive from Amazon.

“This agreement levels the playing field for businesses in our state,” Fallin said in a statement. “Several state and retail groups have argued that stores in the state that must charge sales tax are at a disadvantage in competing against Amazon because it didn’t charge state sales tax.”

Fallin says it’s unclear exactly how much the state will collect; however, officials expect it to bring in “tens of millions of dollars annually.”

“We know that cities and states are losing out on sales tax revenue each year as more business is conducted online.  We still need to call on Congress to implement a fair system for online sales tax. We have to help our local communities keep local businesses healthy and fund core services,” Fallin said in a statement.

State Rep. Chad Caldwell, who authored the Oklahoma Retail Protection Act last year, praised the announcement.

“I was pleased to learn of Gov. Mary Fallin’s announcement today that Amazon has decided to voluntarily collect and remit sales tax to the state of Oklahoma. This will keep millions of dollars in our state that will go toward educating Oklahoma’s children, paving our roads, and providing health care for our citizens. It is a model that I hope and expect many other internet retailers to follow. I appreciate the stance Amazon has taken to help level the playing field for all retailers, which was the true purpose of the Oklahoma Retail Protection Act,” Caldwell said in a statement.