Amazon spent $450,000 lobbying gov’t in Q3

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Amazon.com Inc. spent $450,000 in the third quarter lobbying the federal government on issues including online sales tax rules and data protection and privacy, according to a quarterly disclosure form.

This is the same amount the Seattle-based online retailer spent in the second quarter and less than the $480,000 that it spent during the third quarter of 2010.

Amazon’s lobbying activities related to online sales tax focused on the Main Street Fairness Act. The rule is one of two currently being pushed by several senators that could allow states to require Internet companies to collect sales taxes even if they don’t have a physical presence in a state.

Consumers are generally required to self-report taxes on items bought online from out-of-state companies, but they rarely do, and the amount of uncollected sales taxes is thought to be in the billions.

The potential legislation comes as growing number of states have already passed laws to compel online retailers to collect taxes on in-state sales just as traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers already do. Online retailers have largely resisted being deputized as tax collectors, citing a 1992 Supreme Court decision that says they must only collect sales taxes in states where they have a physical presence such as an office or a store. That same decision also said that Congress could lift the ban, which is what the backers of the national legislation hope to accomplish.

Amazon also lobbied on online security issues, as well as the “network neutrality” rules adopted by a divided Federal Communications Commission late last year. Those rules prohibit phone and cable companies from interfering with Internet traffic flowing over their broadband networks.

Amazon Corporate LLC focused its lobbying efforts on Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Reserve during the quarter, according to the disclosure report filed with the House Clerk and Senate Secretary on Oct. 20.