SC collects fraction of taxes for online purchases

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina collects only a tiny fraction of the taxes that shoppers are supposed to pay when they buy online from an out-of-state company.

Officials think most people don't even know they're supposed to pay, and those who do -- don't.

The issue has surfaced with the debate over whether legislators should give Amazon a sales tax exemption to bring 2,000 jobs to the state.

Supporters point out the company doesn't collect the tax now from the state's online customers. But shoppers are still supposed to pay.

State law requires shoppers to self-report the sales tax they didn't pay for items bought out of state, and pay up when they file their income tax returns.

The revenue agency's latest annual report shows fewer than 12,000 taxpayers self-reported about $941,000.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)