Look Out, L.L. Bean

Mail-order houses keep dodging tax-hungry state legislators

Attention, catalog shoppers: No new sales taxes. For now. Thrifty consumers who bought more than $183 billion worth of merchandise by mail last year welcomed last week's Supreme Court decision not to allow state taxation of out-of-state mail-order sales. But in rebuffing North Dakota's effort to collect a use tax from the Quill Corp. of Lincolnshire, Ill., the nation's largest mail-order office-product supplier, the high court punted the issue back to Congress and cleared the way for future legislative action authorizing states to impose use taxes on out-of-state consumers.

Cash-hungry state officials will lobby hard for new laws forcing mail-order companies...

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