Are you a tax cheat if you shop online tax-free?

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Associated Press

Posted on May 5, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Updated Sunday, May 5 at 7:34 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Buy anything on the Internet lately without paying sales tax? In all but a few states, you're probably a tax cheat.

That's right, even if Internet retailers don't collect sales tax at the time of purchase, you're required by law to pay it in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Here's the problem for states: hardly anyone pays the tax and there isn't much states can do about it.

The Senate is expected to pass a bill Monday making it easier for states to collect sales taxes for online purchases.

Some of the nation's largest retailers are rejoicing. But small-business owners who make their living selling products on the Internet worry they will be swamped by new requirements from faraway states.

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