Achadjian says forcing online retailers to collect sales taxes may be unconstitutional

Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, says he opposed legislation that would force online retailers such as Amazon to collect sales taxes because he believes it may be unconstitutional.

Two of three bills targeting online sales passed the Assembly this week and will now be considered by the state Senate.

So-called brick-and-mortar retailers argue that they have to pay the tax and so should online merchants.

Amazon opposes the bills.

State and local governments are losing an estimated $1.1 billion in annual revenues because of untaxed Internet sales, the Los Angeles Times reported, attributing the figure to the bill’s proponents.

In a statement to The Tribune, Achadjian said he believes “the responsibility for remitting sales taxes should lie with internet retailers and not individuals.”

However, he added, “I am not convinced that (the legislation) will withstand judicial scrutiny.” The bill might draw lawsuits, he added, and he wants to to avoid drawn-out litigation and uncertainty.

He said Congress, not individual states, should “implement a consistent nationwide standard for the collection of state sales taxes on Internet purchases.”