The Saga of State ‘Amazon’ Laws: Reflections on the Colorado Decision

6 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2012 Last revised: 2 Dec 2014

David Gamage

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Darien Shanske

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: July 17, 2012

Abstract

We analyze the Colorado district court’s decision in Direct Marketing Association v. Huber – a decision that permanently enjoined Colorado’s "Amazon" law. Had it not been enjoined, the Colorado law would have mandated information reporting by remote e-commerce vendors so that Colorado could levy its sales and use tax on the e-commerce purchases made by Colorado residents. We evaluate the applicability of the Tax (Anti-)Injunction Act and whether the Colorado statute and regulations should be reviewed as a tax or as a regulation. We also suggest alternative approaches that state legislatures might use in order to levy taxes on remote e-commerce transactions.

(Subsequent to the publication of this essay, the 10th Circuit reversed the Colorado district court’s opinion based on similar arguments to those forwarded in this essay. The U.S. Supreme Court is now scheduled to hear this dispute, in the case of Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl.)

Keywords: tax, e-commerce, Amazon laws, injunction act, colorado, huber

Suggested Citation

Gamage, David and Shanske, Darien, The Saga of State ‘Amazon’ Laws: Reflections on the Colorado Decision (July 17, 2012). State Tax Notes, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2012; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2111433. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2111433

David Gamage (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.indiana.edu/about/people/bio.php?name=gamage-david

Darien Shanske

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Dr
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201

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