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How Is New York Like a Japanese Farm Stand?

In some cases, both rely on the honor system to collect their revenue.

During tax season, New York State asks its citizens to voluntarily pay sales tax on any untaxed internet purchases they have made over last year. The plea has been pretty effective — New Yorkers handed over $45 million in internet sales tax last year alone. Still, that’s less than half of what the government thinks it’s owed.

So, starting in June, 2008, New York will require the largest online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases shipped to the Empire State.

Japanese farmers have had somewhat better luck with the honor system, which they employ in thousands of unmanned produce stands across the country. Many of the stands see payment rates approaching 90 percent. But in Japan, as in New York, the free ride may be coming to an end, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports, as farmers start to insist on being paid in full.

We’ve written about honor payment systems in unexpected places before.

Where haven’t we looked?