For myself, I want to pay my fair share, and to compensate the state for my shared responsibility for the deaths of Wordsworth and HMV and for the damage to other local retailers that used to provide sales tax income. Also, whatever good karma I have for not owning a car is compromised by my lack of thought regarding shipping origin of all the things that are delivered to our door because they are not easily transported in a backpack or carried on a bus. I see something I want on the screen, press a button, and it magically appears at our door. Often I am not even aware of delivery cost since we pay the flat yearly fee for “Amazon prime” shipping.
All in all I think there are good arguments why out-of-state purchases should be taxed, quite aside from the fact that the state needs the money.
On the other hand, I’m afraid I cannot make myself keep track of internet purchases, and to sort out which are taxable and which are not. For that matter, I can’t be bothered to do the taxes myself, which is why we (over)pay an accountant to take care of them. So I gave our accountant a good faith estimate of our smaller purchases and the exact amount on a >$1,000 furniture purchase. Today I opened up the tax returns that arrived for our signatures, and I see that he has left the “use tax” line blank. A simple mistake, do you suppose?
I’ll call to get it corrected tomorrow, and now that I have gone to the DOR site myself I see that there is a “Safe Harbor” method based on adjusted gross income for estimating use tax for purchases that are individually <$1,000. It is more straightforward than I thought to obey the law on this.
But I am feeling rather alone. Given that it is on a sort of honor system, I wonder how much use tax the DOR receives? Would there be general support among Democrats nationally to require internet vendors to report or collect tax on internet purchases? Somehow I doubt it.