If Amazon doesn't collect the tax and pay the state, who will the state go after -- you or Amazon? This is very straightforward here. Saying Amazon doesn't directly answer to the state regarding tax is like saying a retailer isn't financially liable for its wholesale cost because it's being passed onto the consumers; even if it is, there's an order of operations where the money changes hands.
If you are buying from a 3rd party seller, then Amazon is only the middleman -- Amazon will charge you and credit the 3rd party seller minus a cut. Amazon or the 3rd party seller doesn't charge you tax because the state doesn't charge Amazon or the 3rd party seller. But nice try with the red herring...
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