The head of US retailer Wal-Mart’s online division reported that imposing the applicable tax on goods sold though its website had not noticeably impacted sales. president and chief executive officer John Fleming told Reuters that customers had not complained at the imposition of the tax, which took effect 1 February.

In what some view as a legal loophole, current legislation requires online and mail order retailers to charge sales taxes in states where they have no physical operations, such as a warehouse. They are not required to charge sales taxes in other states.

Wal-Mart, together with eight other major retailers, agreed in February to levy the sales tax to avoid bitter legal battles with states keen to see the tax made obligatory nationwide. The states are keen to generate additional tax revenue. Further pressure is coming from high street retailers who feel online rivals who do not need to impose sales taxes enjoy an unfair competitive advantage.

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