There have been several recent developments in the continuing efforts by states to make out-of-state Internet retailers collect and remit sales taxes.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are required to collect sales taxes. However, where an out-of-state Internet seller ships goods into the state but has no other in-state contacts, the transaction is not subject to sales tax. The recipient of the goods is supposed to pay a use tax in the same amount. Commercial enterprises are subject to state sales and use tax audits and generally comply, but individual purchasers seldom do. Brick-and-mortar retailers believe that this gives Internet retailers an unfair advantage. Many cash-strapped states would like to require the Internet sellers to collect and remit the use tax, rather than relying on their own residents to comply.