FUBAR Squared

Last night I wrote about California’s messed up implementation of new Use Tax reporting requirements. I forgot the best (or worst) part of the fiasco.

Let’s assume that instead of purchasing a book you bought a computer monitor and did not pay sales tax. You register for Use Tax, duly pay the Use Tax, but the Board of Equalization asks you, “Have you registered to pay the eWaste fees?”

A couple of years ago California added a fee (er, tax) on sales of lcd and cathode ray tube devices (generally, computer monitors and laptop computers). This program, administered by the Board of Equalization, is separate from sales and use tax.

So what would your response be to the BOE? Perhaps you’d say, “OK, how can I pay the fee (er, tax) on my Use Tax return?” Well, you can’t. The program is separate and has separate registration and reporting. So if you are impacted by this, you must register separately, and make your payment separately from the Use Tax payments.

Adding to the joy is this thought: Once you register for the eWaste program, you must file a form every year even if you never again have to pay an eWaste fee (er, tax). For tax professionals, it’s yet another registration number to keep track of, and more paperwork to handle. The reporting and fee, by the way, is due quarterly (on the last day of the month of the quarter following collection of the fee/purchase of the item); however, the BOE will likely change the reporting requirement to annual for most impacted businesses.

I’m sure this all makes sense somewhere in the world of bureaucracy….


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