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Consumer Alert: Amazon.com Sales Tax Begins Saturday

The online retailer will add the state tax on mail-order purchases beginning Sept. 15. Are you going on a shopping spree before then, or are you happy to see the change?

Up to now, buying online at Amazon.com saved customers money, since no sales tax was collected.

As of Saturday you can no longer buy from the online retailer tax-free.

Sales tax varies in different regions of California. It is 7.75 percent in Coronado, the same rate as San Diego County.

But state lawmakers in California – a state which desperately needs cash –reached an agreement last year with online retailers, including Amazon, who agreed to begin collecting sales tax in September. Those funds will be returned to the state.

According to the Los Angeles Times, about half of the projected $316 million raised in the first full year – and put into state coffers – is expected to come from merchandise sold by Amazon.

The agreement between Amazon and California may not last long. The Orange County Register reports that the deal between the parties was primarily a compromise meant to get a year's reprieve in collecting the tax in exchange for promises to add jobs and distribution centers in California.

Increased prices for online purchases is welcome relief for brick-and-mortar stores, who feel the playing field for customers will be a bit more level.

CNNMoney says Amazon already charges sales tax in six states: Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Washington. Pennsylvania will join California in sales tax charges in September.

New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, Tennessee and South Carolina are all expected to collect state sales taxes from online retailers within the next few years, adding millions to state accounts.

States estimate they lose $23 billion in annual sales taxes, some $11.5 billion of it from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Do you think paying sales tax on Amazon.com is fair? Will it affect your shopping habits? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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