Kevin Drum, referencing an article by Christopher Caldwell, says
What is Amazon.com's biggest advantage over its competition? One-click ordering? The ability to go shopping in your pajamas? Its enormous selection? Those all play a role, but Christopher Caldwell thinks the real answer is the fact that Amazon's customers mostly don't have to pay state sales tax...
The latest state to insist that Amazon collect state sales taxes is California. Amazon's response? As in Illinois, they summarily severed the contracts of every one of its affiliates in the Golden State. But that's not all. Like mafia goons going to the mattresses in a gang war, Amazon immediately announced that it would spend millions of dollars to place a referendum on the ballot to nullify the new California law. And in the meantime? Law or no law, they won't be collecting sales tax in California, and that's that.
Amazon customers do have to pay sales taxes, or the substitute in states called a use tax. So the wording in the post in technically incorrect. The correct statement is that Amazon does not have to collect the taxes as an agent of the state.
Both Mr. Drum and Mr. Caldwell are likely required by their state to report out of state purchases from online suppliers and pay taxes on these purchases. Most people don't do it, and I would bet that both Drum and Caldwell do not. If I am wrong, Mr. Drum is welcome to post a copy of his return. Otherwise, he and Caldwell are the ones illegally evading taxes, not Amazon.
Clarification: I personally couldn't give a rip about these gentlemen evading taxes the government chooses not to enforce. Join the ranks of tax protesters, guys! The point of the post is hypocrisy.