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Originally published December 11, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Page modified December 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM

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Amazon to collect sales tax in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Tuesday that Amazon will begin collecting the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax next November.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Massachusetts is set to become the 12th state where Amazon.com will collect sales taxes under a new deal with the Internet retailer.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Tuesday that Seattle-based Amazon will begin collecting the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax next November.

The Patrick administration had argued that Amazon no longer was exempt from collecting the tax, pointing to its recent purchase of warehouse-robotics company Kiva Systems, based in North Reading, as well as its decision to open a technology office in Cambridge.

The deal comes as Amazon urges Congress to pass federal legislation that would help states impose tax-collection requirements on online businesses.

Paul Misener, Amazon vice president of global public policy, said in a statement that the company looks forward “to creating hundreds of high tech jobs in Massachusetts and continuing to work with Governor Patrick, state leaders, retailers and Congress to pass” federal e-fairness legislation.

A 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibits states from requiring Internet retailers to collect sales tax unless they have a local physical presence.

During the past six months, Amazon has begun charging for sales tax in California, Pennsylvania and Texas — states where it has or soon will have distribution centers. It also is set to collect the tax in Arizona in February, followed by New Jersey in July and Virginia in September.

The company long has collected the tax in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and its home state of Washington.

While some investors worry that Amazon’s sales will suffer as it loses a longtime price advantage over traditional stores, Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak told analysts in October that it was too early to assess the effects of new tax rules on its business.

Amazon also is set to collect sales tax in Indiana, Nevada and Tennessee starting in January 2014.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

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