Carrying her 1-month-old daughter in a sling and holding the hand of her 3-year-old son, Talia Slebonic said she does a lot of shopping for her favorite people.
But how she shops for her children may begin to change.
The Spring Garden Township mother has used Amazon.com Inc. to buy books, toys and furniture and other items for her kids.
Before she buys anything else from the Seattle-based online retailer, Slebonic will be doing some research first.
On Saturday, Amazon will start collecting Pennsylvania's 6 percent sales tax on all orders shipped to the commonwealth, according to spokesman Scott Stanzel.
The change adheres to a 2011 decision by the state Department of Revenue, requiring online retailers to collect the tax if they have a physical presence in the state.
Amazon operates a fulfillment center in York County and five others across the state, including two in Cumberland County, one in Luzerne County and two in Lehigh County.
Slebonic used to receive orders with certainty she was saving money, she said. With the new tax, her online shopping habits may change, she said.
"It will certainly make me do my homework before I shop," she said. "(From Saturday on), there's no guarantee I can get something cheaper than I can somewhere in York County."
But the Fortune 500 company will continue to offer competitive prices, according to Stanzel.
"As analysts have noted, Amazon offers customers the best prices with or without sales tax," he said. "We collect sales tax or its equivalent in more than half of the areas where we do business, and we are pleased to say we are thriving in those geographies because Amazon has the lowest prices, best selection and fast delivery," Stanzel said.
Amazon, which reported $17.4 billion in sales for 2011, has sold new, used and refurbished items on its website since 1995. Those items include books, electronics, computers, movies, music, games, clothes, jewelry, sporting goods, tools, home goods and more.
York resident Jeffrey Gould said he's shopped on the site for about 10 years, mostly for the convenience.
"My habits probably won't change," he said. "Sales tax is a part of life. If I need something, I'm not going to not get it because of sales tax."
Marie Diazz, a West York resident, said she isn't sure if she'll do as much online shopping as she has in the past.
"I don't think it will change my shopping habits completely, but Amazon may lose a little of its luster with me," she said.
That the online retailer will now have to pay the same taxes as York's Beaver Street businesses is only fair, according to Melissa Grove, owner of Sweet Melissa's Dream at 51 N. Beaver St.
"It's about time. My customers and I both have to pay sales tax. Why shouldn't Amazon?" she said.
The e-commerce company favors having the sales tax issue resolved at the federal level, Stanzel said.
"Amazon strongly supports enactment of the Marketplace Fairness Act, and we are pleased (Gov.) Corbett recently joined other Republican governors in urging the (U.S.) Congress to enact this bipartisan bill as soon as possible," he said.
The Marketplace Fairness Act requires states to simplify their tax laws and then grants them the authority to make online and catalog retailers collect sales tax, regardless of where they are located.
Until that legislation passes, Diazz questions the fairness to Pennsylvania consumers.
"It seems unfair to shoppers here if not every state has to pay the tax on Amazon," she said.
In addition to Pennsylvania, Amazon will soon charge sales tax in California, beginning Sept. 15. And the company already charges sales tax in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Washington. Diazz likes that a neighboring state isn't part of that list.
"What's to keep me from ordering at my sister's house in Maryland and having my stuff shipped there?" she said. "Then again, unless it's a really big item, tax will only be a couple bucks. Which won't be worth what I will spend in gas to get to Maryland."
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