A: Short Answer: It is simply unfair to require local businesses to collect and remit local sales taxes, while not requiring so-called “remote sellers” to do the same.
A: Long Answer: Historically these remote sellers were primarily mail order catalog merchants. Although the US Supreme Court uniformly agreed (in 1967 and 1992) that these remote sellers should be required to remit local sales taxes as if they were local businesses, they also conceded that requiring these remote sellers to keep track of over 13,000 state and local tax codes would be prohibitively cumbersome and costly. They further ruled that only congress has the authority to modify such rules of interstate taxation. Consequently, the laws of the land settled on the side of allowing remote sellers to be exempt from collecting local sales taxes, to eliminate the competitive disadvantage which would have been caused by mandating local sales tax compliance. However, with the success of the Internet over the last twenty five years, this disadvantage has shifted from the remote sellers to the local businesses. Today, while local vendors are required to collect local sales tax, they are competing over price with Internet vendors unencumbered by such additional price pressures.