2008_04_amazbot.jpgNew Yorkers are supposed to be honest at tax time and indicate how much they've purchased from online retailers--like Amazon.com--that don't charge NY State sales tax. Now the NY State tax department wants online retailers to charge sales tax, or else be subject to audits going "back as far" as tax officials want.

Currently, retailers who have a physical presence in New York are required to pay state and local taxes, not ones who just conduct sales but don't have a physical presence. The Post reports tax department spokesman Thomas Bergin as saying retailers will "get letters saying if they register by June 1, you're excused, we're not coming after you. If you don't, you can be subject to penalties and interest. "

However, the state's Business Council thinks the idea is stupid, telling the Post, "Albany invented the Amazon.com tax because they failed to cut spending." Former Governor Spitzer was going to introduce sales tax on online goods last year, but realized introducing it during the holiday shopping season was a "uniquely bad moment to roll it out."

Online shoppers, don't worry too much: State lawmakers doubt the measure will pass, because the state would rather have the federal government deal with Internet transactions.