February 18, 2013

Purchases of the day.

From the February 17, 2013 Amazon Associates Earnings Report:

Snyders Old Fashioned Pretzel Sticks 3 pounds 7 ounces (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $1.00)

(3) Jones Oboe Reed Medium (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $2.82)

ch ching:

Black & Decker SPCM1936 19-Inch 36-Volt Cordless Electric Self-Propelled Lawn Mower With Removable Battery (Earnings to the Althouse blog = $33.67)

... and 57 other items purchased — at no additional cost to the buyers — giving the blogger that warm, sweet, softly piercing, lush, straight untwisted feeling of being appreciated by some of the greatest blog readers of her generation.

Thank you.


steve said...

Wow. You sure seem to be raking in the cash. That must really add up over a year's time. I'm curious. Does Amazon send you a tax form at the end of the year? Is this treated as ordinary income? Do they withhold taxes?

Meade said...

Yes, yes, and no.

Ann Althouse said...

I love all this concern over whether we would pay taxes on our income.

It suggests to me that there are a lot of people who don't pay taxes on income! This assumption that if there weren't other entities reporting on you or even withholding from you, you'd go ahead and resist taxation, committing federal crimes... where does it come from?

I would never cheat on my taxes, but I get the impression others do it all the time, whenever they think they can get away with it.

Russ said...

Any idea how the earnings to you is calculated? It seems the oboe reed is a huge percentage to you (20%) while the pretzels are 5% and the mower is ~10%.

it seems very arbitrary and much higher than I would have expected. I would have expected a tiny skim percentage across the board (like 1%).

ndspinelli said...

I had a car salesman I trusted and liked. I first bought a couple vans I used for surveillance from him. He was straight, honest, and no bullshit. I then started buying my family cars from him until he retired a few years back. This guy was the consummate good salesman. I went back to him because of the aforementioned qualities and because I grew to like the guy. He NEVER spoke of the commission he received from these sales. He had way too much class than that. However, even some of the classless salespeople w/ whom I've dealt never mentioned "what they were making" off the commission. I'm quite sure my experiences comport w/ others. This "we will make" is not only crass, it's fundamentally bad sales technique.

X said...

It suggests to me that there are a lot of people who don't pay taxes on income!... where does it come from?

government employees have a well deserved reputation for cheating the taxpayers by goldbricking and other methods. it's not such a stretch to think they might cheat on their taxes too, but steve never suggested any such thing. he merely asked some procedural questions and you got defensive.

AJ Lynch said...

Amazon is required to issue a 1099 for commission payments when the aggregate amount reaches $600 in a year. I think that is the current IRS regulation.

Ann Althouse said...

"but steve never suggested any such thing. he merely asked some procedural questions and you got defensive."

1. I inferred a state of mind from a bunch of comments, consistently made around here.

2. I'm not defensive at all. I'm offensive. I'm inferring that other people are cheating, based on their continually bringing up this point about whether we're paying taxes.

3. If I were actually defensive, I'd delete all the comments about whether we paid taxes. Obviously!

Ann Althouse said...

"Amazon is required to issue a 1099 for commission payments when the aggregate amount reaches $600 in a year. I think that is the current IRS regulation."

Amazon is a HUGE company. The Associates program is immense. The chances that this is flying under the radar are nil.

Why do people keep asking?

I think they are thinking: If I had an income flow like that, I wouldn't pay taxes.

That's the only explanation for these repeated comments on the subject.


dreams said...

I think there is a big underground economy. It would be easy for self employed handy man type people to not report all their income and if I had that kind of income I probably wouldn't report all my income.

FleetUSA said...

Isn't the correct spelling: Ka-ching

X said...


I think it's amusing you don't think you cheat. it's almost impossible for a government employee not to.

Grundoon said...

Yippee! I made Purchase of the Day.

I bought the mower and did it through the Althouse portal on purpose--I almost forgot and had to back up and restart my purchase.

I love knowing that Ann and Meade can go down to the capitol and report the news I want to hear and I paid for the gas money and lunch. I much prefer that to having my actions (watching commercials) pay for Dan Rather's successors tell me what they think I should hear.

Grundoon said...

On second thought, it is kind of a downer to know that my purchase of the mower will send maybe eight or ten dollars to fund Obama's crazy ideas. But I won't let that thought ruin my morning!

steve said...

Ann, I was just curious about how it worked. I never assumed you cheat on your taxes. That never entered my mind. It's just that I have visited a lot of blogs in my time, and have read about how much time they put into their blogs. They usually ask for a donation to help them out. I think they should become an Amazon affiliate. The money seems pretty good, though that depends on the popularity of the blog I guess. I usually split my purchases between you and Glenn Reynolds

dreams said...

I just wish I had bought AMZN stock years ago. I bought a book back in the nineties from Amazon and that was before the stock came public.

Calvinus said...

I think it's fantastic that you make some money this way. I would think the classy car salesman criticism would be more apt if your commission had any impact on the price I pay for stuff on Amazon. It doesn't. Your listing of examples has made me more likely to buy through the portal because I know it actually is worth my time.

Meade said...

Steve, thanks for clearing that up. And Russ, Grundoon, Calvinus, AJ, thanks for all the positive feedback.

Coketown said...

This assumption that if there weren't other entities reporting on you or even withholding from you, you'd go ahead and resist taxation, committing federal crimes... where does it come from?

It comes from the fact that people consistently do it. Most states with sales tax require residents to declare their online purchases and pay sales tax on it. Do most people do it? No. The gap between expected and actual sales tax revenue is large and growing, which is why states are so desperate to find a way to get Amazon to collect sales tax at the point of sale.

Steve clearly wasn't asking about you filing your taxes honestly. He was asking how Amazon treats income from their affiliates program--whether its 1099 or you declare it or what--and you, being an affiliate, would probably have insight into that. You made an erroneous inference about his motives, and it came off as petty and harsh. Poor Steve.

But, from my experience dealing with Amazon as a marketplace seller with higher-than-normal volume, and for Steven's edification, the only thing Amazon does for sellers--don't know if it's the same for affiliates/referrals--is provide a report of your sales. They don't withhold any money (I didn't know withhold had two H's. Thanks auto-correct) or report to the IRS. BUT Amazon does require you to provide your federal EIN and state business license number if you exceed a certain amount of revenue per year. So indirectly they know you are registered as a business and are filing quarterly with the state. The fear of being audited makes you file honestly. Most consumers aren't in fear of being audited or having their tax-free MP3 purchases discovered. So they're probably more likely to file dishonestly.

Coketown said...

But I did like it better when the Amazon Portal posts mentioned just the things that were purchased--cock soup, hahaha--and not how much revenue they generated. When ch ching items get an honorable mention, it makes my pennies' worth of contributions seem much less appreciated.

AEH said...

I just have to say that Jones reeds are pretty much the worst oboe reeds on the market. Whoever bought them, I would suggest upgrading real soon. I won't name any brands here, but, it isn't hard to find better.

wyo sis said...

I hardly ever hit the tip jar on sites I visit often. It's complicated and takes time. Amazon makes it easy, so I do it. That's about the same for most people I think.
I don't understand the thinking here. If Ann worked as hard for, say, The Daily Caller, she'd be paid very well. She does this. Whatever her reasons are she is here everyday with articles and commentary and a group of people who comment and make an interesting place to spend time. If her efforts have value to you and you want to compensate her you use the Amazon portal. If not you don't.
It's simple economics. If you get value you pay for it.

AJ Lynch said...

"Why do people keep asking?"

I don't know. Perhaps because Obama claims, in almost every other speech, that the tax code is so unfair and it has like a billion loopholes but only certain "folks" are able to use the loopholes.

Rabel said...

When I use the Althouse Amazon portal to purchase an item, I hereby declare that I consider the kickback, pardon me, the sharing arrangement, to be a gift to Althouse and Meade.

The IRS says:
"Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money's worth) is not received in return."

Therefore, this indirect transfer, with Amazon as the transfer agent, meets the IRS definition of a gift, not income.

Pretty weak, but you could give it a try. I'm sure your regular readers like me will contribute to the defense fund when the men in black suits come for you.

Lew Lipshitz said...

Snyder's of Hannover is the shid!

OBTW - where is the reaction to Mindy McReady (whoever that was) offing her dog before she killed herself? That was awful.

Freeman Hunt said...

I am stoked about the Young People's Concerts. We watched one of those online a few months back and loved it. Did not know there was a DVD collection until the link was posted here.