HRoth - 11:09 am on Apr 21, 2010 (gmt 0)
They don't want to know that, tangor. They just want to collect the tax, and in a lot of states, whether you have to pay sales tax or not depends on what you bought (clothes, food, etc.).
They do indeed have a right to make a merchant collect sales tax if the merchant is selling in their state. Or they can bar the merchant from selling in the state. If Amazon does not want to collect sales tax, all they have to do is quit selling to people in NC. Or NY.
We constantly have this discussion and people get all enraged and start yelling about how we won't do this won't do that. Well, you can do whatever you want, but then there are consequences. The states are going to figure out a way to handle sales tax collection on the Internet one way or the other. It's just a matter of time. They HAVE to do it. And really, I do not see how you can blame them for that.
That said, I personally quit buying on Amazon when they started charging NY state sales tax. I buy used from Abebooks now. But I know the glory days of not paying sales tax online are soon to be over.