Bloomberg News

Simon Property Sues to Force Indiana to Tax E-Commerce Sales

November 07, 2011

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Simon Property Group Inc. sued the state of Indiana to force it to collect taxes from Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. for sales made to residents.

“SPG is not seeking money damages,” the biggest U.S. shopping mall operator said yesterday in a statement announcing its filing in Indianapolis state court. “This action is being filed to benefit all of Indiana’s taxpayers and the state’s brick-and-mortar retailers,” many of whom are Simon tenants.

The mall operator claims the state has ignored requests that it collect the taxes even as annual Amazon sales to Indiana residents exceed hundreds of millions of dollars.

That volume of business gives Amazon -- the world’s largest on-line retailer -- sufficient contact with the state to become liable for collecting tax on sales there, according to the Simon complaint.

Simon is also the biggest U.S. real estate investment trust by market value. The Indianapolis-based company on Oct. 25 reported occupancy at its U.S. properties in the third quarter rose to 93.9 percent from 93.8 percent one year ago, while average rent increased 3.4 percent to $38.87 per square foot.

Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon, didn’t immediately reply yesterday to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is State of Indiana ex rel. Simon Property Group LP v. Indiana Department of Revenue, 49D13 11 11 PL 042652, Marion County, Indiana, Superior Court (Indianapolis).

--With assistance from Brian Louis in Chicago. Editors: Peter Blumberg, Fred Strasser

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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