Cyber Monday gets a lot of hype and there are great deals, but much of the savings actually comes about because consumers break the law. If you shop online with an out of state e-tailer you are not charged sales tax. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area that means your savings are pushing 10 percent before any sales or mark downs. It is true around the country, as long as a company doesn't have a 'presence' in your state no sales tax is charged. Ah, but here's what you haven't been told; in California, and in other states too, by law, you must pay the sales tax. Look at your income tax form. It is right there in black and white.
A while back I asked a state tax official if he had ever seen someone pay out-of-state sales tax without an audit and he answered 'no.' With states hurting for cash and local tax-generating stores feeling the brunt of the illegal activity, I expect a state to soon crack down. Investigators will begin looking first at those who bought big ticket items -- art and expensive furniture -- but soon they will get to those who bought TVs or clothes. It probably won't happen this holiday season, but consider yourself warned.