President Donald Trump has railed against Amazon, falsely claiming the company fails to pay state and local sales taxes on online shipments. But it turns out the Trump Organization retail website collects sales taxes only on goods shipped to two states — while Amazon collects sales taxes in 45 states.
The TrumpStore.com website sells Trump-labeled glassware, baseball caps, luggage tags, spa slippers and key chains, among several other items. It collects sales tax only on orders shipped to buyers in Florida and Louisiana, according to the company’s own website, The Wall Street Journal pointed out on Friday.
TrumpStore.com, which touts itself as the “official retail website of the The Trump Organization,” doesn’t even pay sales taxes on its online shipments in New York, according to the information on its site. Its physical store and headquarters are located in the Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Trump, who maintains his ownership of the Trump Organization even while president, has been slamming Amazon on Twitter for dodging sales taxes. He has called it a “no-tax” company and has blasted Amazon for paying “little or no taxes to state & local governments.”
According to regulatory filings, Amazon paid a combined total of $412 million in federal, state, local and foreign taxes last year. In 2015, it paid $273 million. Amazon currently charges consumers sales taxes in all 45 states where such taxes exist, plus Washington, D.C. All states except Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon collect sales tax.
Amazon doesn’t have to pay all those taxes. A 1992 Supreme Court ruling effectively restricts states from forcing online retailers to pay state and local sales taxes if the company has no physical presence or employees in the state.
Amazon reportedly also supports legislation that would require all online retail operations — such as TrumpStore.com — to pay local taxes so companies operate on a level competitive playing field.
It’s impossible to know what state and local taxes the TrumpStore has paid because it’s a private company and Trump has not released any tax information.
“Trumpstore.com has always, and will continue to collect, report, and remit sales taxes in jurisdictions where it has an obligation to do so,” a spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.
A “terms and conditions” section of Trump’s online store informs consumers that they’re responsible for paying any applicable tax on merchandise they purchase.
TrumpStore.com could soon be forced to catch up to Amazon on state sales taxes, thanks to the president. The Trump administration last month filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to allow states to require that online retailers collect and pay sales taxes even where they have no physical presence.