ATLANTA, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Online retail giant Amazon.com could be gearing up for a legal battle over a sales tax law a law professor said is open to legal debate.
"My inference is that they feel comfortable challenging the legislation, probably with good reason," said University of Connecticut School of Law Professor Richard Pomp, referring to Georgia's new tax law requiring online companies to charge a sales tax for customers from Georgia.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled states can charge taxes only from businesses that have a presence in that state -- a ruling that first came up in reference to catalog sales companies.
Amazon has fought legal battles across the country and has made deals with several states to allow them temporary stays from sales tax in exchange for the company providing jobs in that state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.
Georgia and other states have responded by writing laws that extend the concept of having a presence in a state so that it also includes firm or other agents that collect a fee from Amazon for directing Internet visitors to the retail giant.
Georgia's new law began at the start of the year, but the website does not appear to be collecting sales tax from Georgia residents. Nor did it return phone calls looking for comment on the subject, the newspaper said.
"Our expectation is that the law would be abided by," said attorney Ryan Teague, executive counsel to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
By not collecting the tax, Amazon could be setting itself up for an audit by the Georgia Department of Revenue and that could end up with a court battle, said University of Arizona Rogers College of Law Professor Jud Seymour.