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Why do Amazon and Virginia differ on sales tax collection?

by TaxJar December 1, 2023

Please note: This blog was originally published in 2017. It’s since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Amazon has one of the most robust sales tax systems out of all of the e-commerce shopping carts, but some sellers have noted that what Amazon collects and what the state of Virginia expects to see can be slightly different.

When viewing TaxJar’s expected v. sales tax due reports, Virginia Amazon sellers are seeing amounts that are slightly off. Here’s why:

Amazon collecting sales tax based on Virginia data center

Virginia is a origin-based sales tax state. In a nutshell, that means that sellers who have sales tax nexus in Virginia and sell a taxable item to a buyer in Virginia should collect sales tax based on the sales tax rate at their own, seller’s, address.

But from running millions of Amazon transactions through TaxJar, we’ve seen that this is not the case. In Virginia, Amazon appears to collect sales tax from their buyers based not on the seller’s location, but based on the location of Amazon’s data center in Chantilly, Virginia. This goes not just for sales from, but for sales made by FBA sellers through the Amazon system.

Long story short, Amazon collects sales tax from all Virginia buyers at the Chantilly rate, regardless of the buyer’s location.

How to deal with erroneously collected Virginia sales tax

Fortunately, all of Virginia’s sales tax rates are fairly close to one another, so even when Amazon collects at the Chantilly rate for all customers it is still almost correct.

That said, Virginia still wants you to report how much sales tax you collected (or in this case, should have collected) from buyers in each taxing district.

That’s where TaxJar’s expected vs. actual sales tax collected report can help. When you login to your TaxJar account and click on your Virginia sales tax report you’ll see what Amazon collected on your behalf and what they should have collected, all broken down by taxing jurisdiction.  If you want to see what Amazon collected vs. what they should have collected on each individual transaction, you can do that by looking at your Detailed Sales Tax Analysis (DSTA) report on your TaxJar dashboard.

If you Amazon collected the wrong amount of sales tax from your buyers in Virginia, just use the “expected sales tax due” tab when filing your Virginia sales tax return. This will assist you in reporting and remitting the correct amount of sales tax to the state.

Virginia sales tax reporting

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