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The use tax was developed by states to complement the sales tax. The aim was to prevent residents from being able to avoid paying the sales tax by simply going to a different state to make a purchase. Unlike the sales tax, which is collected by businesses at the point of sale, the use tax is self-reported by individuals. Since its inception in the United States in the 1930s, compliance with the use tax has been close to zero. This article examines the history of the use tax in the United States, including its original intent, enforcement issues, numerous court cases, state efforts to increase compliance, and federal legislation that never came to pass.