Amazon’s new tax state

October 25, 2013 11:51 AM Inc. plans to build a 1-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Baltimore, establishing its first physical presence in Maryland and extending its sales tax collection to more than half the U.S. population.

Amazon and city and state officials declined to say when Amazon expects to open the new facility, which will employ more than 1,000 people in full-time jobs. When it opens, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax from customers in Maryland, a spokeswoman for the retailer says.

As of Nov. 1, when Amazon begins to collect sales tax in Wisconsin after opening its first fulfillment center there, the retailer will collect sales tax in 14 states. With Maryland included, Amazon will collect sales tax for just over half of the United States population. The 15 states had a combined population of 158.3 million in July 2012, or 50.4% of the total U.S. population of 313.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Amazon is working with Duke Realty and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to build the  facility on industrial property formerly used by a General Motors Corp. plant in the Port of Baltimore.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, has been expanding its number of fulfillment centers across the United States, with more than 40 in place and plans to have close to 50 by year’s end. Worldwide, it already operates 89 fulfillment centers, a spokeswoman says.

It’s also investing heavily in automating those distribution centers. Amazon disclosed yesterday as part of its third quarter earnings report that it had deployed 1,382 Kiva robots in three distribution centers from July through September. Amazon acquired Kiva Systems Inc. last year.

Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations, says the retailer’s full-time fulfillment center jobs come with company stock awards, a 401 (k) retirement plan, health care benefits, and a Career Choice program through which Amazon will pre-pay up to 95% of tuition costs.




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