States, consumers face bewildering rules with online sales taxes

Kansas City StarFebruary 4, 2011 

Have you paid up yet?

You bought all those great Christmas gifts online that you thought were sales-tax-free. Then when you realized you did owe taxes on the purchases, you had to write that check to the state. Buzzkill.

What’s that? You didn’t pay a nickel?

No sweat. Virtually no one pays.

Yet the idea of all those uncollected tax dollars — one university study said governments would miss out on $11 billion this year — has a growing number of going-broke states increasingly frustrated by what’s known as e-commerce.

Imagine how this is going over at the local strip mall, where store owners risk prosecution if they don’t collect sales taxes.

“People will actually tell us, ‘I’d love to buy from you, but …’ The sales tax on a $1,000 camera is $80,” said Mitch Pence, a co-owner of Photographx Unlimited in Kansas City, North. “It’s a big issue for us.”

Forcing online retailers to collect sales taxes hasn’t been easy.

Read the complete story at kansascity.com

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service