Did You Dodge the Use Tax?
Amazon.com worker David Brendoff, left, moves boxes with merchandise for shipment Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005, at the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Fernley, Nevada. With the holidays just around the corner, many shoppers are relying on online sites like Amazon.com to complete their shopping. This facility, over 800,000 sq. ft., or roughly 13 football fields, is capable of handling hundreds of thousands of orders per day. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 Updated at 5:08 PM PDT
If you live in California and have made on-line purchases through Amazon, it's a pretty good bet that you haven't paid a tax that you owe. It's called the use tax.
Amazon and many other online retailers don't collect tax on its sales. The state says Californians are supposed to pay the tax on their returns, but few people do. That's touched off a fight in California (and a number of other states with similar problems) over whether online retailers can be forced to pay the tax.
Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters argues in a column today that Congress, not the state legislature, should step in and resolve it. His piece is here, and it's pretty convincing.