"Interet Sales Tax...Is It Coming?"
It's been coming for awhile. I think that most small internet businesses already apply sales tax for internet purchases. When I was building a train table/set a few years ago, I made a lot of purchases from GA hobby businesses and I invariably paid sales tax as well as shipping on the purchases. Other times when I have bought things from internet merchants in other states, I have found that ordinarily the only time they apply sales tax is in cases of sales to in-state customers. Customers with out-of-state mailing addresses get a free sales-tax ride.
Amazon.com and the other BIG internet retail dogs are another story. I have done a LOT of shopping via Amazon over the past 5-7 years - especially at Christmastime, where I only rarely run around town to buy anything. I find that I can get EXACTLY what I want, and Amazon offers so many items now at VERY reasonable prices with free "Super-Saver" shipping (on orders over $25) that I consider the whole deal a bargain anyway you look at it. No sales tax is just icing on the cake. I usually have the stuff shipped to me; then I repackage with holiday cards for shipment to loved ones. However, as I get older, it gets more tempting to just have Amazon ship directly to them (w/free Super-Saver), but that would take some of the personalization out of it for sure.
The argument against internet taxes is what Murr said - it will depress internet sales. The local businesses who are losing in the deal haven't had enough political clout (up to now) to cause any sweeping changes. And their battle is really uphill, since they'll have practically the entire internet community AGAINST them. Just look at what happened the other day with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The only thing that was "stopped" was government action on the legislation; and the only thing "protected" was the status quo.
"Apparently, when you buy something online, even if it is not in the state where you live, you are required to pay the sales tax on that item...."
I believe that this is the law; however, it is routinely ignored, mainly because the government doesn't have the capacity to police all the violations. My hunch is that only when the government has a big enough stick to beat up on Joe American in Anytown, USA and force him to pay internet sales tax on all purchases will anything really change. Let's hope that it never happens.
Here's a good discussion on internet sales tax. See espcially the paragraph titled: "Consumers May Be Required to Report and Pay Sales or Use Taxes.
Sometimes ignorance IS bliss...