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Sales tax jurisdictions across the United States

I joked on Twitter last week that coronavirus pandemic self-isolation has gotten to me so much that I'm considering buying all the gadgets whose ads keep popping up in my feed as holiday gifts.

OK, I half joked. I've always tended to shop online anyway. COVID-19 has just moved me from 95 percent to 100 percent in that direction.

And some of the items really are interesting. C'mon, admit it. You, too, wouldn't mind having a solar-power bird bath fountain or a pocket-sized, snowflake-shaped multi-tool.

These items are even more appealing when you realize that after spending decades with someone, it gets harder every year to come up with a present for him that will really be a surprise.

One thing, though, that COVID-19 hasn't changed in connection with my online purchases is the tax add-on to them.

Texas taxes on online sales: Even before South Dakota vs. Wayfair, the Supreme Court decision in 2018 that expanded states' abilities to collect sales taxes from sellers that don't have actual operations within their borders, Texas was pretty adamant about getting its tax cut.

Texas was, for example, among the first states to require Amazon to collect sales taxes back in 2012 when the giant internet e-tailer was still trying to avoid adding the charges to its customers' invoices. The High Court's imprimatur on the remote tax collection was just the bow on top of the sales taxable e-purchases.

And the sales tax collection here in Tejas is widespread, according to a new map from the Tax Foundation.

Sales-Tax-Jurisdictions-by-State_Tax-Foundation October 2020

The nonprofit tax policy organization's visual shows that the Lone Star State leads the nation in the number of sales tax jurisdictions.

Tax collection, one way or another: That's not really surprising. Texas is a large state. Plus, when you don't have an income tax, sales taxes are even more important to bolstering state operation.

In creating the map, the Tax Foundation cites software company Vertex's count of more than 11,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States in 2020.

But for this week's By the Numbers figure, I'm sticking with my native state. That makes Texas' 1,659 sales tax collecting entities the featured figure.

Five states don't have a sales tax. Of the remaining 45 (and Washington, D.C.) that do, New Jersey is at the other end of the sales tax spectrum. It has only two jurisdictions.

But then, the Garden State does have an income tax, including a newly expanded millionaires' tax, and some of the highest property taxes in the country.

Yes, the cliché is true. The tax collector always finds a way.

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