eBay CEO Devin Wenig said he has spoken to President Trump about the online sales tax issue in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, but the two men obviously disagree on how the case impacts eBay rival Amazon.
Wenig was speaking before sellers during the eBay Open conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He, like the President, dragged Amazon into the debate – and though he didn’t refer to his competitor by name, the inference was clear. He told the audience of eBay sellers and employees:
“We have been the loudest, most persistent, and most vocal voice fighting this in Washington and in state legislatures. Period.
“I’m not naming any other marketplaces, but when they say they have your back, what was their position on this issue? They were quite happy to see a sales tax passed that is going to potentially impact your business.”
President Trump had tweeted yesterday that Amazon “lost” the Supreme Court tax case – but while many companies, organizations, politicians, and sellers filed amicus briefs in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Amazon did not.
Wenig continued, “I have spoken to everybody from the President of the United States down about this issue. And what we are fighting for now, post Wayfair, is federal preemption of the states where the federal government takes over, passes one, simple, national sales tax that can be implemented so that we don’t have to navigate 10,000 separate tax jurisdictions in the United States.”
He said eBay would have the tools necessary for all sellers to collect and remit taxes in every tax jurisdiction in the US. “We will be ready, we will have the tools necessary to help you collect if it’s needed.”
Is Wenig correct that Amazon “won,” or is the President right that Amazon “lost”? We reached out to Amazon for comment, but the company has not yet responded to our inquiry.
Note that in 2011, Amazon came out in favor of federal legislation, and in 2012, its Vice President of Amazon Global Public Policy testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, explaining that the company supported a nationwide framework for state sales tax collection created by Congress.
Amazon collects and remits sales tax for first-party sales, but except for certain states such as Washington, which has enacted a Marketplace Facilitator law, it does not handle sales tax *collection* for third-party sellers, though it does provide an optional tax calculation service provided for a fee by a third-party solution called Vertex.