Donald Trump claims Amazon is 'doing great damage to taxpaying retailers'

US president Donald Trump has renewed his attacks on e-commerce giant Amazon, saying the company is "doing great damage to taxpaying retailers".

Mr Trump tweeted: "Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!"

The US president has often criticised the company and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.

Many traditional retailers are closing stores and blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online.

However, the company has been hiring thousands of warehouse workers on the spot at job fairs across the US.

Amazon has announced a goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by the middle of next year.

Mr Trump has in the past tweeted that Amazon was not paying "internet taxes", although it is unclear what he meant by that.

Amazon.com collects state sales taxes in all 45 US states which have a sales tax and the District of Columbia, according to its website.

Jeff Bezos.

State governments have sought to capture sales taxes lost to internet retailers, though they have struggled with a 1992 supreme court ruling that retailers must have a physical presence in a state before officials can make them collect sales tax.

The issue arose recently in South Carolina, which has pursued legal action to recoup tax revenue it says it is owed.

This summer, the state department of revenue filed a case with the Administrative Law Court, alleging that Amazon had failed to collect taxes on third-party merchant sales.

Third-party merchant sales involve items that can be bought on Amazon.com, but the company acts solely as a middle man between buyers and sellers.

Amazon processes the payments and offers other support to the parties involved.

The state claims that Amazon owes the state $12.5m in taxes, penalties and interest from first quarter of last year alone, according to the complaint obtained by The Associated Press.

For years, the Seattle company fought against collecting sales taxes from its customers.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Carolina was among 10 states that initially gave Amazon a temporary tax reprieve in exchange for jobs and investment, voting in 2011 to give the company until the beginning of 2016 before the state levied taxes.

According to the conference, that deal made South Carolina the last state to collect among those where officials cut similar deals with Amazon.

The company promised to create at least 2,000 full-time jobs and invest $125m by December 31 2013. It opened two distribution centres in the state.

Amazon did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

AP


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