Following a tweet from late in December, in which President Donald Trump appeared to imply that Amazon was at least partially to blame for the U.S. Postal Service's shortcomings, the company has now been called out again. That isn't likely to come as a shock, as the president has not been known to pull his punches when dealing with companies that have shown opposition to his policies or legislative plans. Making matters somewhat worse for Amazon, the company's CEO, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post – which has openly spoken out against many of the president's proposals and decisions. The new remarks, which centered around the above-mentioned previous claim and taxation, were made on Wednesday as the president prepared to sign a piece of legislation called the Interdict Act – which is aimed at decreasing opioid abuse by addressing smuggling directly.
Addressing members of the media and of his administration before moving to sign the legislation, President Trump is reported to have said of Amazon that the company is "going to have to start paying sales tax because it's very unfair what's happening to our retailers all over the country that are put out of business." The remarks seem to imply that Amazon has not been paying any sales tax on the goods sold through its website. It would be fair to say that the president's comments on the matter are not entirely untrue, as Amazon has seen its share of challenges regarding its payment of taxes. Most recently, the company has faced challenges over policies that allow vendors to set the tax rates charged. However, the Seattle-based company does require sales tax to be paid on items shipped to many states and even recently agreed to address some of the tax burden created by some of its vendors in Washington.
Some in the industry, such as GBH Insights' head of technology research Daniel Ives, reportedly view the remarks as a reflection of what is happening in the retail market – rather than representing any kind of threat aimed at Amazon. Ives referred to the comment as "noise" and as something that should probably be expected due to Amazon's impact on the overall market. While Amazon has been reporting record sales and profit, there has been growing resentment among more traditional storefronts and an increasing push to enforce an internet tax on companies like Amazon. Considering Amazon's increasingly prominent position in all of this, that's not likely to go away anytime soon, though its also unlikely to result in an internet tax, according to Ives.