Amazon says it will start charging sales tax in DC

WASHINGTON — If you live in the District, you’ll have to start paying D.C.’s 5.75 percent sales tax on your Amazon orders starting next month, though the reason why is a bit of a mystery.

“Amazon will be required to collect sales tax in Washington, D.C. beginning on October 1,” Amazon said in a statement emailed to WTOP. When asked for clarification as to why, Amazon responded it would have no further comment beyond the one-line statement.

Amazon has made voluntary tax collection agreements with other states in the past, but the District would not confirm any agreement with Amazon.

Further, there is no law in the District that requires a company that does not have a physical presence in the District to collect a District sales tax. Other than its lobbying work, which is exempt from sales tax requirements, Amazon has no physical presence in the District.

Amazon confirmed its statement saying it “would be required” to collect D.C.’s sales tax.

Amazon founder and largest shareholder Jeff Bezos does own The Washington Post. Bezos acquired the Post’s publishing business in 2013 for $250 million. It has operated as a separate privately held company since Bezos acquired it.

The Washington Post relocated from its longtime home at 15th and L Streets in Northwest to the nearby One Franklin Square at 13th and K Streets late last year.

Amazon already collects a sales tax in Maryland and Virginia, because it has distribution facilities in both states.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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