Amazon.com really, really does not want to collect sales tax from its customers. But that's not just the online retailer's problem: If you work for Amazon, the tax obsession means you need permission to visit certain states, and might not be able to send certain emails when you get there. In some instances, you won't even be able to identify yourself as working for Amazon.com.
Amazon employees have been shown a color coded map of "bad states," according to the Wall Street Journal, and been made to consult with company lawyers before visiting any. In some states, Amazon staffers are barred from sending work emails. Or they might be given special business cards from wholly owed subsidiary "Amazon Digital Services" to use, so they don't identify themselves as working for the more taxable Amazon.com bookstore. Or they might have to skip the state entirely, as when Amazon shifted its college recruiting efforts in Illinois entirely to videoconferences. Before traveling, the Journal said, employees are "grilled about the purpose of trips and warned to avoid soliciting new customers, promoting products and doing similar activities in certain states because of tax concerns."
So Amazon is so scared of being forced to collect sales tax that it has basically turned itself into the Mafia. And yet Amazon supports the creation of a nationwide framework for online sales tax. It's just trying to keep competitors from getting a leg up. I believe it was Amazon CEO Jeff "Killa Laugh" Bezos who first said, "Don't hate the player, hate the game, G!"
[Photo of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos via Getty]