What a surprise this isn’t:
An increasing number of politicians, concerned with shrinking budgets and eyeing continuing growth in e-commerce, want to force out-of-state retailers like Amazon.com, Overstock.com, and Blue Nile to tattle to tax collectors about how much in sales taxes their customers have avoided paying.
Colorado recently adopted such a measure, which says retailers must divulge the total purchases “made by each Colorado purchaser during the prior calendar year”; they also must forward a more detailed list to every customer accompanied by a warning that paying use taxes is mandatory. A similar proposal in the California legislature will be the subject of a hearing next week, and a Tennessee bill is scheduled for discussion.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has already come up with a relatively-unobtrusive approach, which has been detailed in the 511 packet for the last few years. If you can document every last out-of-state purchase, there’s a worksheet for that; if you can’t, you’re allowed a guesstimate of 0.056 percent of your adjusted gross income.
There is, however, a quirk in the Oklahoma law: if you overpaid last year and got a refund, your subsequent 1099-G will be adjusted by the amount of use tax you reported. I have never quite understood this.
And there remains Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which does not address the question of whether this tax is owed, but which does declare that it’s not the obligation of the vendor to collect it on behalf of a state.