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Is the Tax-Free Era Over for Online Shopping?

Tucked into a Times report about a typically out-of-touch New York State budget crafted by the wizards of Albany comes this news:

Another $50 million [of state revenue] will come from requiring online retailers like Amazon that do not have a physical presence in New York to collect sales taxes on purchases made by New Yorkers and remit them to the state.

Is this the beginning of the end for tax-free Internet shopping?

There have been a lot of arguments over the years about why online merchants should not collect sales tax, many of them not very compelling.

Imagine how hard it is to be a brick-and-mortar shoe store, for instance, when your online competitors not only don’t have the brick-and-mortar costs to contend with but also don’t have to collect sales tax from customers.

The online sales tax debate has been heating up for some time now. Does New York’s move perhaps mark a tipping point?