The Amazon affiliates program could yield millions in revenue for New York state, and it won’t come from customer referrals.
From the New York Times:
… people owe taxes on what they buy regardless of whom they buy it from. But the seller only has an obligation to collect those taxes (and thus the only time taxes are ever actually paid) when the seller has a physical presence in the state of the purchase.
The state is proposing defining Amazon’s affiliates — Web sites that earn commissions by referring customers to it — as a physical presence.
Out of state retailers have until June 1 to register with New York as vendors, reports the New York Post. Companies that don’t comply could open themselves to back taxes and audits. However, both the Post and the Times say New York’s tax measure will likely be tested in court.