Roger Ebert is free to tweet about Levi’s corduroy pants after April 15, but Amazon will no longer pay him if someone buys a pair.
“Amazon will terminate my Associates account on 4/15, in order to evade fair and just Illinois taxes. I have 20 more days to make a fortune,” wrote the film critic on his @EbertChicago account yesterday.
A new Illinois law made official Thursday requires Web retailers like Amazon that have affiliates in the state to collect sales tax – reported to be 6.25 percent – on purchases made by people living in Illinois. Rather than pay the tax, Amazon is severing relationships with its Illinois-based affiliate program “Associates.”
In an e-mail sent by the Amazon Associates Team to the company’s Illinois affiliates which was posted on the LittleTechGirl.com site yesterday, Amazon said it opposed the law before it was passed.
The company told associates, “Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by [Illinois Governor Pat Quinn] compels us to terminate this program for Illinois-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by Illinois-based affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.”
Ebert told ClickZ News in a Q&A in January that he uses his Amazon Associates program commissions “to defray the cost of content on my site.” He went on to state that he makes around 7 percent on each Amazon sale originating from his affiliate links. “I hope my Amazon links are often useful or amusing,” he said.
Whether or not his latest Amazon affiliate tweet, posted this morning, could be considered useful or amusing is arguable: “Levi’s corduroy pants, all sizes and colors, on sale.”