eBay has begun to collect sales tax from buyers located in certain states, including Washington, thanks to Marketplace Facilitator laws, and eBay included news relating to that development in its Early Seller Update last week.
eBay announced it would begin adding information about the sales tax it collects from buyers on the Orders Report. It did not say if it would include data retroactive to January when it first began collecting sales tax from buyers.
eBay also acknowledged a major shortcoming in its collection system – it currently does not exempt buyers who have exemption certificates, a significant problem we had reported on February 12. (eBay did not respond to our February 6th inquiry about this and other sales-tax issues.)
It’s possible this deficiency could be negatively impacting sales. For example, acquisition librarians at colleges and universities looking for hard-to-find books may choose to shop elsewhere once they learn eBay has no way to honor their tax-exempt status.
When we asked Washington’s Department of Revenue last month about reports of problems with eBay’s sales-tax practices, a spokesperson told us that it would not comment specifically on eBay’s practices. Its website continues to advise shoppers to contact the seller if they have problems, even though in eBay’s case, that doesn’t apply – shoppers should contact the marketplace facilitator. That verbiage could lead to buyers blaming sellers instead of marketplaces for any mistakes or problems in the way eBay collects state sales tax.
In last week’s Seller Update, eBay stated, “At this time, we do not have the capability to accept exemption certificates from buyers who may be exempt from state sales tax. We’re looking into adding this functionality. In the meantime, buyers should be able to get a credit or refund of the sales tax paid to eBay directly from marketplace responsibility states. The refund process differs for each state and buyers should contact their tax advisors or the tax agency in their state for further details.”
eBay also revealed it is partnering with Vertex “to ensure our tax calculator accurately reflects state and local tax law, and regularly update our tax calculations.”
You can find eBay’s announcement and FAQs about sales tax on the Early eBay Seller Update landing page.