This is an honor system. People don't always do what's honorable under a taxing method that's “voluntary” and difficult to enforce. The Oklahoma Tax Commission, which strictly enforces the remittance of sales taxes by local businesses that collect it, can't easily enforce a system by which consumers essentially self-report what they owe. Those who don't save receipts for precise payment calculations are offered an option on personal income tax returns to estimate — and pay — what they owe.
Cyber Monday is but one day of the year and a fraction of the holiday buying season. We don't know how much e-commerce is taking place within Oklahoma, so we don't know precisely how much sales taxes go unpaid. Earlier this year, former Gov. Brad Henry put the figure at more than $200 million. He and other current and former governors have supported federal legislation designed to level the playing field between local and remote retailers. Anti-tax conservatives have been cool to the idea.
Meantime, the dependence of Oklahoma cities and towns on the sales tax will continue. If anything, sales tax will become a greater piece of the state's revenue pie if conservatives get their way and reduce the income tax. Sales taxes will continue to be added to grocery and health care products — unless they're bought from Amazon.com or other remote retailers that don't collect taxes on Oklahoma purchases.
Either through legislation or cooperative agreements, the e-tailer advantage will shrink or go away. “I forgot!” will disappear as an excuse. And Cyber Monday could become merely the tail end of Black Weekend.