Amazon.com has pulled the trigger. As reported earlier, a looming Hawaii state tax law change relating to online affiliate marketers has prompted the Internet retailer to close the Amazon Associates accounts of Hawaii residents. Members of the local tech community are pushing Gov. Linda Lingle to veto HB1405, but Amazon.com is acting pre-emptively, clearly hoping that its action prompts even more people to express outrage.
The new law takes effect tomorrow, but Gov. Lingle has until today to notify the legislature of her intent to veto (which she must then do by July 15).
The text of Amazon.com’s termination notice is below (emphasis added):
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account has been closed as of June 30, 2009. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme passed by the Hawaii State Legislature with an effective date of July 1. As a result, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to Amazon.com or Endless.com after June 30.
We were forced to take this unfortunate action in anticipation of actual enactment because of the uncertainty and timing of a veto, and the possibility that a veto could be overridden. The governor has until July 15 to veto the bill but, as indicated, the bill has an effective date of July 1.
Please be assured that all qualifying referral fees earned prior to June 30, 2009 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with our regular referral fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 30, 2009, any final payments will be paid by September 1, 2009.
In the event that Hawaii’s governor vetoes this tax collection scheme, and that veto is not overridden, or in the event the law eventually is repealed, we would certainly be happy to re-open our Associates program to Hawaii residents.
The Hawaii General Assembly’s website is http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/, the governor’s website is http://hawaii.gov/gov and additional information may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance at http://www.performancemarketingalliance.com/.
We have enjoyed working with you and other Hawaii-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.
The Amazon Associates Team