California’s Once and Future Amazon Act

34 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2011 Last revised: 1 Jun 2014

See all articles by Edward A. Zelinsky

Edward A. Zelinsky

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: October 12, 2011


At the end of the current session of the California legislature, a deal was brokered under which Amazon dropped its efforts to repeal by voter initiative California’s new Amazon law. In return, Amazon obtained a one year delay in the implementation of the new law. These events suggest that we may be entering a new phase in the debate about the states’ taxation of remote sales. Paradoxically, California’s Amazon act, despite its practical and legal infirmities, may prove to be a game changer, the final straw for Amazon and its internet peers. Coming on top of other states’ efforts to impose tax collection responsibilities on out-of-state remote sellers, the California statute may have finally convinced Amazon and its internet peers that they are better off with federal legislation rather than the continuing proliferation of state Amazon acts.

Keywords: California Amazon law, dormant Commerce Clause, Quill, National Bellas Hess, use tax, sales tax, internet sales, electronic sales, mail order sales, physical presence test, nexus

JEL Classification: H71

Suggested Citation

Zelinsky, Edward A., California’s Once and Future Amazon Act (October 12, 2011). Tax Notes, Vol. 62, No. 83, 2011, Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 352, Available at SSRN:

Edward A. Zelinsky (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

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