The online sales tax situation in the United States is a big concern for online retailers and can be a difficult topic to understand. A recent study from Stamford University indicated that a national online sales tax could decrease online purchase volumes by an average of 12% across all channels (although this could be financially negated by the upward trend in increased average order values). The addition of this tax would be a unique and challenging obstacle for all online retailers in the country.
Another unique aspect about online sales tax in the U.S. is that each state has different laws (or lack thereof) on whether it collects online sales tax and how it collects the tax. For example, last month Pennsylvania announced they will begin taxing online sales for companies with a physical presence in the state. As state laws currently stand, only online retailers with a physical eCommerce presence (i.e. distribution center) in a state can be subject to online sales taxes from that state, meaning online retailers do not have to pay an online sales tax in states where they do not reside.
Currently there are three online sales tax bills Congress is considering, each very unique in their own way yet with some similarities: