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Error SB202 – Invalid Amazon Link

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Amazon.com/Amazon.ca Link No Longer Valid

This music archive site is funded by sales made through links posted throughout its 2,000-plus pages. From 2004 to 2009, a large part of that support came from links to Amazon.com. Because of action taken by the State of North Carolina in 2009, Deaconlight.com is no longer able to receive support through Amazon.com (USA) or Amazon.ca (Canada).

If you reached this page by clicking a link on a Deaconlight.com page, it is because the link formerly pointed to Amazon.com or Amazon.ca. We are in the process of converting the invalid Amazon links to valid links at F.Y.E., iTunes, and other music sources. At the outset of this process, we had more than 10,000 links to Amazon.com and Amazon.ca pages that were added to Deaconlight.com pages between 2004 and 2009. Please be patient as it will take awhile to fix all the invalid links.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to search F.Y.E. and/or iTunes for the music or music-related item you were seeking when you clicked the link.

Buy CDs, DVDs, books, music at F.Y.E.
 
Download music on iTunes
 
Click here to go to F.Y.E. » Click here to open iTunes »

 

Why We Named This Error SB202

This "error" page is named after North Carolina Senate Bill 202, which is a budget/appropriations bill ratified by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) August 5, 2009 and signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue August 7, 2009.

In an attempt to generate more tax revenue, the NCGA decided to create a law that would force out-of-state retailers (such as Amazon.com) who previously were not required to collect N.C. sales tax to begin collection of sales tax if they sold items to N.C. residents via links on websites owned by N.C. web publishers. The relationship between online retailers and web publishers is known as "affiliation": The web publisher participates in an "affiliate program" and is usually referred to as an "affiliate." This legislation is often referred to as the "NC affiliate tax."

Per United States constitutional law, states are not allowed to impose sales tax collection procedures on retailers who do not have a "physical presence" in the state. This "physical presence" is referred to as "nexus."

The physical stores operated by Apple and F.Y.E. that are located in N.C. create nexus for these companies and therefore make Apple and F.Y.E. liable for the collection of N.C. sales tax. According to case law, nexus is also created when a retailer contracts with sales people in N.C. who use their physical location in the state to generate sales specifically from N.C. residents (as in having N.C. as a "sales territory").

The legislation in SB202 asserts that web publishers who participate in affiliate programs offered by out-of-state retailers create nexus for those retailers, thereby making those retailers liable for the collection of N.C. sales tax. This assertion is not supported by case law, however, and it is likely that at some point in the future the legislation will be struck down as unconstitutional. Before that can happen, a court case will need to be initiated either by a retailer challenging the law or the state prosecuting a retailer for not complying with the law. It is unfortunate that N.C. lawmakers who supported this legislation chose not to study this issue in depth and learn how wrong it is.

Meanwhile, many out-of-state retailers have dropped their affiliate relationships with N.C. web publishers. Even though Deaconlight.com has a global audience and the site would be no different if it was managed from any other place, the establishment of this unconstitutional law has caused Amazon.com to sever ties with N.C. web publishers until the courts sort this issue out. That is why Deaconlight.com can no longer participate in Amazon.com's affiliate program. (The international Amazon programs – UK, Germany, and France – are still active on Deaconlight.com).

The main reason out-of-state retailers resist collecting this tax is due to the administrative burden it could place on their business. Each state has its own unique tax collection procedures, meaning that retailers would incur a lot of costs customizing accounting processes, upgrading software, and hiring personnel to manage the administration of collecting this tax and paying it to the states. Furthermore, they could also be subject to the collection of individual municipalities that have their own unique collection procedures. For many retailers who are not set up to collect all these taxes, this is unmanageable. Retailers who have physical stores in N.C. were required to implement this tax collection when they established their business in N.C. and therefore have those collection procedures in place.

So until all the invalid Amazon links have been replaced, Deaconlight.com visitors might be directed to this page while browsing the site. We hope you will support the site by clicking the F.Y.E. and/or iTunes links on the site and purchasing music there.

Thanks!

DD Thornton
5 September 2009

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