The Big Story Blog

What's the law in Minnesota on paying sales tax online?

Posted at 2:07 PM on November 17, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy, Taxes

You're supposed to pay it.

It's worth saying again. In our discussion today of online retailing that while there's no legal obligation for Amazon, Overstock or any other .com to collect sales taxes from their online sales, the consumer is still obligated to send the tax on those purchases to the state

Here's the Minnesota Revenue Department:

If you buy taxable items over the Internet or through mail order for use in Minnesota, you must pay Minnesota sales and use tax. If the business from which you made the purchase does not charge you sales tax, you must pay use tax directly to the state.

The same rules apply when you go to another state and buy taxable items for use in Minnesota.
The department also offers handy links to let citizens send the sales taxes easily to the state.

Of course, it rarely happens. MPR News reporter Martin Moylan today writes that in
2010, 734 people in Minnesota paid the state for uncollected sales taxes, "amounting to $371,000.

"Online retail costs the state as much as $400 million a year in lost sales tax revenue."


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.