Man on the Edge: Sales Tax on Amazon Purchases?

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Amazon!  The company that changed the way you shop for just about everything you shop for.  A massive selection of everything from acid-washed jeans to zombie repellent, and best of all: it was low-cost and tax-free.  Keyword: was.  

Amazon has given in to North Carolina’s demands to start adding state sales tax to anything you buy from the website.  February 1 is when the tax gets added.  The state figures it’s been missing out on up to $214 million per year in lost sales tax.

It’s not all Amazon’s fault, but they’re a pretty big player in online sales.  It’s actually a combination of all the players in the mix—Amazon, Ebay, Best Buy, Overstock—whatever sites you shop on.  You’re supposed to list online purchases so you can pay when you file your state income tax report.  But you didn’t.  Nobody did.

In the past, online retailers have refused to add state tax in places where they didn’t have brick-and-mortar stores.  You might be in North Carolina, but they’re not.  Local store owners have argued that amounts to an unfair advantage for online-only stores.  And now Amazon seems to be giving in.  But the consumer is the one paying the price.

Our Man on the Edge, Robert Wilder, is an online shopping fanatic.  So should he have to pay sales tax for stuff bought online?