Online sales tax won't hold back Amazon

Maine shopkeeper Anita Demetropoulos figured she would never see the day when her most relentless rival Amazon would be forced to collect sales tax.

Maine shopkeeper Anita Demetropoulos figured she would never see the day when her most relentless rival Amazon would be forced to collect sales tax.

Now that Congress seems ready to do that, she is no longer sure it matters. Even in losing, the e-commerce powerhouse is triumphant. It no longer needs the tax break to vanquish its foes - and could even make money by collecting the new taxes for other retailers.

"I'm surprised and glad this is happening," said Ms Demetropoulos, who owns three toy stores with her husband, "but Amazon won't rest until it gobbles up everyone and everything."

The Senate is poised to pass a bill to require all but the smallest online sellers to collect the tax. The House of Representatives appears likely to follow suit.

But as Amazon builds new warehouses and extends its already considerable reach, the company is relying less on price than speedy delivery, free shipping and a selection that encompasses just about everything.

"It's beyond frustrating that Congress waited until Amazon became so dominant that having a massive tax advantage is no longer essential to its strategy," said Stacy Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

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