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Re: Amazon.com (sales tax)

The law in most (all?) states requires that the purchaser receiving
merchandise shipped from an out of state source or brought in from
another state pay the sales tax in their jurisdiction.  Thus, if I buy a
book in NYC from, say, Strand, and have it shipped to me in Maryland, I
am technically required to cough up the 5% state sales tax here.  If I
lived in upstate NY and had the books shipped, Strand would charge me the
state portion of the sales tax but not for the NYC part.  Some companies
automatically charge you the applicable tax in the juisdiction of
delivery.  I believe that Sotheby's does this on auction items.

In addition, companies that have a presence in a state must collect sales
tax on all items sent to that state.  A presence could be defined as
having a sales person who makes inperson sale calls in the state.  Again,
this requirement is not always fulfilled.

With the increasing use of electronic commerce, this has become a hot
issue.  One case of which I am aware deals with Quill, Inc.  Quill is the
largest mail order office equipment/supply company in the US.  There was,
I believe, a federal court case dealing with whether Quill had to collect
sales tax (and send it in as well) on all purchases charging the rate in
effect at the "ship to" address.  I believe that Quill won the case.


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