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The logo for Amazon is shown Sept. 28, 2011, during a news conference in New York.

Beginning in March, Wyoming will collect sales tax on Amazon purchases after the state struck a deal with the company, Gov. Matt Mead announced Thursday.

The company agreed in November to collect the sales tax for all purchases where the billing address is located in Wyoming. Although the governor’s office wasn’t sure how much money the agreement would generate, any amount would likely be welcome in the statehouse as lawmakers face a session rife with tough budgetary decisions and funding cuts since tax revenue from the energy sector has decreased significantly.

“The news comes at a time when Wyoming is facing an historic budget crisis,” a news release from the governor’s office stated. “The additional tax collections will not come close to solving the issues the state faces, but will obviously help.”

Wyoming will join 34 other states and the District of Columbia where the online retail behemoth collects sales tax, according to the release.

Not only does the agreement collect tax money, the governor said, but it will also level the playing field for Wyoming businesses where customers already pay sales taxes.

“Wyoming businesses are at a disadvantage when internet businesses fail to collect tax,” Mead said. “This is an important step in the right direction.”

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The agreement with Amazon, however, does not compel other online retailers to collect state sales tax. Mead encouraged legislators Thursday to continue their work on a bill they are considering that would require large online retailers to collect sales tax on Wyoming purchases.

Supporters of the bill, sponsored by the Joint Revenue Interim Committee, say it would help the state diversify its sources of income. Furthermore, the state could earn between $23 million and $46 million extra every year, according to a state Department of Revenue estimate.

The law would apply only to online retailers that do at least $100,000 in sales or conduct 200 separate transactions in the state annually. Smaller online retailers would not be affected.

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Follow crime and courts reporter Elise Schmelzer on Twitter @eliseschmelzer

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