You're fucked! The linked document is a very interesting development in the long battle between states and online retailers over whether or not online retailers must collect sales or use tax on items purchased by state residents. Well, the battle may be over, because New York state just dropped an atomic bomb. Long and short, ithe New York Department of Taxation and Finance issued a memorandum that essentially says that online retailers that have no other presence in New York could, nevertheless, be responsible for collecting and remitting sales taxes on all goods and services delivered in the state if they have "representatives" located in New York who solicit sales for the retailer (i.e., link to a retailer's site) in exchange for a commission or referral fee. If so, then the online retailer must collect sales taxes on all sales of goods and services to New York, not just those that were generated through the representatives' links to the retailer. Got that? Now think about the Amazon affiliate program. Exactly.
So after rereading the memo for the fourth time, I needed confirmation that it was, in fact, a big fucking deal. Could there possibly be a huge tax geek out there who would want to decipher this memorandum? Oh yes, yes there was.
If you clicked the link and read Maud's post, you will see at the end the bit that makes the memo particularly dangerous, namely that it requires online retailers to register as New York State sales tax vendors by December 7, 2007, if they want to avoid an assessment of (past) tax due, penalties and interest. That is, sign up to register as a vendor by December 7th, or wait for the Department of Taxation and Finance to knock on your door. Oh, and once you sigh up as a vendor, you are required to collect and remit sales tax on every fucking sale in the state....till the end of time. That sound you hear? Just Jeff Bezos sobbing.