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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Photo: Ted S. Warren / AP

Amazon will cost the State of South Carolina $500 million in sales tax over the next five years, the state's tax authority said in a motion filed this week, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: This is yet another example of states getting serious in their effort to collect sales taxes on cross-state e-commerce transactions. The failure to do so is costing states more than $1 billion per year and contributing to persistent state and local budget constraints even as economic growth accelerates.

  • Though Amazon now collects sales tax on all goods it sells from its own inventory, it does not necessarily collect tax for third-party affiliate sales.
  • The failure of Amazon or these third parties to collect sales tax cost South Carolina $57 million last year, the state says. Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

What the law says: As it stands, retailers aren't required to collect sales taxes on goods sold in states where they don't have a physical presence, though customers still technically owe (but rarely pay) these duties.

What's next: States are challenging this standard in jurisdictions around the country, with the most closely watched case being a South Dakota petition filed earlier this month to the Supreme Court, asking it to review whether it can constitutionally require retailers in other states to collect South Dakota sales tax.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  3. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators seeks stimulus dealChuck Grassley returns to Senate after recovering from COVID-19.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. Economy: Wall Street wonders how bad economy has to get for Congress to act.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.
2 hours ago - Health

First blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer's goes public

Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./C2N Diagnostics via AP

A non-COVID medical breakthrough: People over 60 now have access to a blood test for Alzheimer's disease.

Why it matters: The existing PET brain scan test costs some people about $5,000 and often isn't covered by insurance, AP reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Wisconsin, Arizona certify Biden's victories

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Arizona and Wisconsin officials confirmed the presidential election results in their states, formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victories in the key battlegrounds.

Why it matters: The moves deal yet another blow to President Trump's efforts to block or delay certification in key swing states that he lost.