Are you paying taxes for eBooks? | Fun Questions

March 29, 2014 Fun Questions 30

Join me every Saturday as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

Are you paying taxes for eBooks?

Alright, so this week’s fun question post is probably going to show y’all how clueless I can sometimes be. But I wondered if I was the only one who suddenly noticed that taxes were being applied to my eBook purchases. One day I was preparing one of my Sunday Posts and I was like, “what? that book was supposed to be $0.99!” So I looked. And it was, plus tax, making it $1.07. So I decided to look and see if this had always been happening and I just hadn’t noticed it. And I saw that eBooks I purchased in December 2012 had no taxes applied, but eBooks purchased in 2014 suddenly had them!

Ok – I’m not COMPLETELY clueless. I know about the “Marketplace Fairness Act” and actually think it makes a lot of sense to help local businesses compete with online retailers. For some reason, though, I assumed that things that can only be purchased online, like eBooks, wouldn’t have this tax applied. I guess I figured that this act was all about fairness and online retailers could all not charge/pay the tax. And since I was already paying tax on Amazon products that were shipped to my house, that kind of reconfirmed my understanding. But that was naive I guess.

So I did some research and wanted to share what I found with y’all, because as it turns out – some of you have probably been paying taxes on your eBooks a lot longer than I have! And some of you may be checking now and seeing that you don’t have taxes on your eBooks. The “Marketplace Fairness Act” allowed states to start enforcing specific laws that they have about the kinds of taxes different kinds of purchases should have. So some states, like Washington, have digital good sales taxes that are now being enforced on everything from music to ebooks. Florida’s now enforcing their tax on movie streaming, but eBooks still have no tax. Apparently Texas is one of those states where eBook taxes are now being enforced. Canadians, Europeans, Australians, et al? Well I have absolutely no idea about your tax system, but would love to know if you’re paying taxes on your eBooks.

If you’ve seen my Pinching Pennies posts you know that this tax has had zero impact on my decision to buy eBooks (or audiobooks, which are also being taxed now for me). I just wanted to know why it happened and I’m really curious to know if any of you have seen changes since the passage of the “Marketplace Fairness Act.”

And if you want more information on all this, I got most my information from this article at CNNMoney – “What an internet sales tax will cost you.” I did lots of Googling and it was by far the most helpful article.

Are you paying taxes on ebooks? I Am!

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Berls

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

30 Responses to “Are you paying taxes for eBooks? | Fun Questions”

  1. Vilia

    As far as I understand it, if Australians buy through Amazon (Australia store) we will be forced to pay tax but not if we continue to buy through Amazon (US store). No idea why people would want to migrate given that little gem. We tend to pay an awful lot more for books here anyway so I suspect most people wouldn’t notice. Most paperbacks I buy cost around AUD$14-$18.
    Vilia recently posted…Sunday Post #19My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      Golly y’alls books are too expensive!! Why? Do you make your paperbacks the medieval way with vellum? LOL
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

  2. Mariko @ The Storybook Kingdom

    Sometimes I pay taxes and sometimes I don’t. It’s been that way for awhile. It seems completely random, but I’m sure there’s some kind of system. Pretty much if I buy an Ebook or other digital purchase from Amazon and I get a receipt immediately, there wasn’t a tax. If it takes awhile, I was taxed.
    Mariko recently posted…Talk of the Kingdom: NovellasMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      Interesting! I’m sure there’s a system there (not that it’s probably worth taking the time to figure out).
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      It stinks right?! I mean if I get an eBook for $0.99 I’m telling myself it’s okay, not even a dollar. Then all of a sudden it’s $1.07 and I can’t tell myself that anymore 🙁
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I think it must have something to do where we live – everyone gets taxed differently depending on their address. Makes sense, but makes me wish I lived somewhere tax free :/
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

  3. Bea
    Twitter:

    Massachusetts recently began collecting taxes on physical items purchased at Amazon but so far ebooks are exempt. So far. 😛

    I do wish the laws regarding sales tax were more consistent throughout the states; it gets very confusing.

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I agree it is really confusing – I wish they’d just get rid of the tax altogether! That would be ideal 😉
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

  4. Haley Keller
    Twitter:

    I haven’t noticed this, but I’m broke at the moment and so far in 2014, have only downloaded books that are currently free. I’m wondering if tax is applied to free books or not. It would kind of defeat the purpose of having them for free, but I don’t really understand all the laws that go into this sort of thing.
    Haley Keller recently posted…Favorite Television ShowsMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      The tax doesn’t apply to free books, that I do know – since tax is a percentage, the percentage of 0 would be 0 🙂 So at least free books are safe!
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

  5. Angie F.

    I just checked my last ebook purchase, and no tax! That’s weird that they’re now adding it to digital purchases. I guess it kind of makes sense in a way, since there is a sale involved, but then again, there’s no physical product!

    Plus, it seems like you’re not being told tax is added, since there is no “check out” page for ebooks. You see the $0.99 or whatever, and that’s what you expect to pay.
    Angie F. recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #123My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      I think that was my big issue with it – I wasn’t told! Plus, they tell us that we never fully own our eBooks. Technically they can be revoked. So I don’t think I should pay tax on something that I don’t own 100%!
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      Hmm I’m guessing none of this really applies in the same way to Europe – y’all probably have an entirely different tax system that would also be greek to me! LOL
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’m playing catch up on comments, but I still wanted you to know I appreciated your comment. So please forgive my tardy reply!

      Yeah – it seems to be. I need to move to a place I can get my books tax free! Except I SO DO NOT WANT TO MOVE AGAIN! LOL
      Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | Christmas in July!My Profile

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