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<I'm just sitting here, minding my own business, reading the newspaper because I've finished my taxes, and I see an article in The New York Times that describes how most people dodge the taxes they are supposed to pay on mail orders.>

<I didn't even know about such things...

Given the tax awareness of the average American I'd guess a lot more people are ignorant of the requirement than are deliberately dodging this tax, just like you were, David.

<I thought tax was taken out when I placed all my Christmas orders with Lillian Vernon, Eddie Bauer, Disney, et al. Is there something else I'm supposed to be doing? Where can I find information about this? I looked through and went to the nearly useless New York State tax site without success.>

This is from very fuzzy memory - if a Co. has a physical location in a state it has to collect sales tax on any mail order shipped to that state from anywhere in the US - e.i. JC Penney. If not there is no enforceable way to make them collect it (only the fed can regulate interstate commerce or something like that), so the Mail Order Co's. tend not to, although a few do (Digi-Key in Minnesota comes to mind).

There is some move afoot by the Governors to come up with a requirement to have all mail order firms collect state taxes, at the state rate. This leaves the County and Municipalities out in the cold. Seems to me our illustrious Gov. here in Utah is a ringleader in this scheme. Initially it was supposed to include the Co's and Muni's too, but the mail order people say it is an impossible burden. As often as the Co's & Muni's change their local rates I agree. Seems to me the whole thing is on hold for now but I might be wrong on this.

In Utah there is a line on the State Income Tax Return where you are supposed to fill in the tax you owe from mail orders where no tax was collected. My parents used to keep all their mail order receipts each year and figure it up and add it in. As far as I know they were in an extremely small minority.

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