Health - August 31, 2012


Amazon.com to collect PA sales tax

On Saturday, September 1, Amazon.com will start collecting sales tax on all orders shipped to Pennsylvania.  Initially the company had refused to collect the 6 percent sales tax but after the state Department of Revenue issued a sales tax bulletin in December 2011 stating that the definition of a business was “maintaining a place of business in this Commonwealth” if that business engages in activity in the Commonwealth then they should be collecting the sales tax.  Online retailers that have a physical existence in Pennsylvania are also required to collect the tax; and Amazon.com has six fulfillment centers in PA.   The Department of Revenue had wanted online retailers to register to begin collecting the tax by February 1, 2012 but extended that deadline to September 1, 2012.  Some online retailers needed the additional time to make changes to their software and systems in order to begin collecting the tax.  It is projected that the Commonwealth missed out on over $340 million in taxes last year from online retailers who did not collect the sales tax.  Amazon currently collects taxes in six other states and will be adding California to that list in mid-September.

 

Harrisburg Patriot-News and Pennlive.com to merge

While it may have seemed like the Harrisburg Patriot-News and Pennlive.com were one entity already, they are not.  Plans this week were announced to merge the two to form a new “news-gathering and advertising organization” called the PA Media Group.  The Harrisburg Patriot-News, which currently prints seven days a week, will cut back to three days a week beginning in January while online news content will be increased.  On the three days the Patriot-news is printed, one of those days will be Sunday; larger editions that are similar to the Sunday edition will be offered. 

Digital media is booming while print media is becoming costlier to maintain.  The effort to merge will help to secure the future of both companies. The Patriot-News has been in business for 158 years.  Over the years there have been other changes and mergers but this may be one of the most significant.  The number of visitors to Pennlive.com has skyrocketed in recent years while circulation of the Sunday Patriot-News has fallen to 118,000, down from 176,000 in 1992.  As a new organization, the PA Media Group aims to continue to provide quality news while keeping up with the current digital age.