Sales taxes bring in big revenue for states, but they have to act carefully. If one state charges more sales tax than its neighbors, people start to cross state lines to buy big-ticket items. If the economy takes a dive and people buy less, states feel the crunch too. And more recently, buyers have started deliberately avoiding state sales taxes by buying on the internet.
Update: Below is an article on the Internet sales tax rules for this state prior to the Supreme Court's decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. on June 21, 2018. The Wayfair decision overturned the prior rule established in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota which prohibited states from requiring a business to collect sales tax unless the business had a physical presence in the state. Some states already had laws prior to the Wayfair decision (commonly referred to as Amazon Laws) that require larger Internet sellers without a physical presence in the state to collect and pay sales tax under certain circumstances. It is expected that states will now pass new laws requiring online retailers to collect sales tax for sales within their state. We will update this article as the laws change. For more information, see Internet Sales Tax: A 50-State Guide to State Laws.
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Internet sales made by out-of-state retailers to California customers are also treated no differently than other remote sales made to California customers. Generally, remote sales by out-of-state retailers to California customers, whether made over the Internet, by telephone, or mail order, take place outside of California because the property is delivered to a common carrier outside the state for shipment into California, and are, therefore, not subject to sales tax. However, California customers do owe the use tax on those sales, unless a specific tax exemption or exclusion applies. Out-of-state retailers that are engaged in business in California are required to register with the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), collect the use tax from California customers, and pay the tax to the BOE.
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