South Carolina shoppers now pay taxes on Amazon sales

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW / AP) – A sales-tax break the South Carolina Legislature gave Amazon in 2011 expired at midnight January 1.

Taxing Amazon’s in-state sales could add tens of millions of dollars to South Carolina’s coffers in 2016, said Max Behlke, the National Conference of State Legislatures’ manager of state and federal relations.

State Revenue Director Rick Reames declined to give estimates beyond saying, “We expect a significant increase in sales tax revenues.”

It’s something that South Carolina residents hope will come back to the state and benefit taxpayers.

“Hopefully it’ll go to improving roads or something schools or something the public will benefit from. Anyway the state can generate more revenue, I don’t mind paying sales tax on an online item. I was surprised to figure out that you didn’t pay sales tax on an online item. So, it doesn’t bother me,” James Cavanagh said.

South Carolina was among 10 states that gave Amazon a temporary tax reprieve in exchange for jobs and investment. The company had to create at least 2,000 full-time jobs with health benefits and investing $125 million by Dec. 31, 2013.

The deal brought a distribution center to Lexington County — and later, a second center in Spartanburg.

For frequent Amazon shoppers like Cavanagh, having to now pay the sales tax won’t significantly impact his purchases.

“I personally don’t think it’s going to affect a whole lot just because again the price is still cheaper. I do like to shop local if I can. Most of the things I do buy on Amazon are not things I get locally from a small store,” clarifies Cavanagh.

North Carolina is one of the 26 other states that already had to pay sales tax for purchases.

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