NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

shouldn't be forced to pay sales tax, according to

TheStreet

.

On the one hand it makes sense why 66.7% of readers don't want Amazon to start charging sales tax -- they don't want to pay higher prices.

But 33.3% believe it is only fair for the e-commerce giant to play under the same rules as traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Traditional retailers like

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

,

Sears

(SHLD)

and

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

are lashing out at Amazon, saying it is only fair that the online retailer collects sales tax.

Since these are predominantly brick-and-mortar business that operate physical stores in the states in which they conduct online business, these companies are already collecting sales taxes.

The debate over whether or not Amazon should pay sales tax to states has been ongoing, but came to a head recently as several lawmakers have petitioned to change laws that once absolved Amazon from doing so.

In the past, Amazon has been protected by a 1992 Supreme Court ruling (Quill Corporation v. North Dakota) that prohibits a state from forcing a business to collect sales tax unless it has physical stores in the market.

But while taxpayers in most states are required to pay the tax directly to the government, few actually do.

One reader commented: "States should be going after the violators not paying those Use taxes and not Amazon. However, it is easier for the states to target Amazon and audit their sales records. One audit versus many small ones."

Currently, Amazon collects sales tax in five states -- Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington -- the only markets where it has stores or offices. But if other local governments have their way, this could soon change.

Earlier in the month, Amazon ended its affiliate program in Illinois, after the state signed a law that forces online retailers that work with affiliates in the state to collect sales tax on purchases made by residents.

Affiliates are partner sites that earn commissions by advertising or linking to an online retailer's merchandise.

Amazon has had already terminated affiliate partnerships in Colorado, Rhode Island, Hawaii and North Carolina.

The company also threatened to end relationships with more than 10,000 affiliates in California if the state passes a similar law, and Amazon shuttered its warehouse in Texas after lawmakers sent the retailer a bill for $269 million in unpaid sales tax.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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Jeanine Poggi

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