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Is it about time for an Internet sales tax?




A woman shops for wine on Amazon's Internet site on November 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Amazon on Thursday launched an online wine store selling 'more than a thousand' varieties of US vintages. Amazon said the online shop would be 'a marketplace offering customers more than a thousand wines crafted by wineries around the country.' Wine sales are allowed only in states which allow it. That includes California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.
A woman shops for wine on Amazon's Internet site on November 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Amazon on Thursday launched an online wine store selling 'more than a thousand' varieties of US vintages. Amazon said the online shop would be 'a marketplace offering customers more than a thousand wines crafted by wineries around the country.' Wine sales are allowed only in states which allow it. That includes California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

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Politics may be the art of the possible, but sometimes it seems more like the science of expediency. A recent example: the Senate bill which would require online retailers to collect state and local sales tax for purchases they ship to customers.

Yesterday, this legislation survived a procedural vote, and is expected to be approved, perhaps later this week. So, what's this online sales tax all about? How will it work, who will pay what, and who's for and against it?

Here with some answers, Jordan Weissmann of the Atlantic.