Archive for the ‘Sales Tax’ Category

In the Battle Between the Board of Equalization and the Humble Taco Truck…

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Entrepreneurs look for niches: Opportunities that aren’t being served well by current businesses. Enter the humble taco truck. These food kitchens on wheels tend to serve business workers looking for a quick and reasonably priced meal. I saw them daily when I was living in Orange County.

What’s the biggest enemy of the entrepreneur? That’s easy: Government. It stifles businesses by adding regulations and taxes. And out of my old stomping grounds of Orange County comes a story about 12 taco truck owners who say that they now must fight the BOE.

One issue is that some items sold by these entrepreneurs are taxable while some are not. Thus, estimates are used to determine the sales tax owed to the state. Apparently, these estimates have now become unreasonable.

In this article in the Orange County Register, Steven Greenhut comes to the same conclusion that I did:

The state Capitol is controlled by liberal Democrats, who frequently invoke concern for the poor, working-class people and immigrants to justify spending schemes. Yet here is another example of how these officials, lawmakers and bureaucrats, put the demands of the well-paid and powerful public-employee unions over the needs of cash-strapped immigrants and working people.

State officials refuse to tackle solutions for the pension debt or rein in public spending. Indeed, they are busy approving fanciful projects such as high-speed rail. Yet, the state has no money. This is the end result of an infantile progressive movement that refuses to make hard choices, always blames the private sector and figures that higher taxes will solve every problem.

Read the entire piece and you’ll understand that California is doing everything it can to drive all business out of state.

Amazon Tax Tossed in Colorado

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Taxdood has had a good series of posts on the Amazon tax. has negotiated with several states regarding collecting sales tax on purchases made from the online retailer. Amazon will begin to collect sales tax in Texas (beginning July 1st) and Nevada (2014).

Some states have imposed “Amazon” taxes–writing laws that force the online company to collect sales tax in those states. The typical Amazon tax says that affiliates cause Amazon to have nexus to that state. Recent court decisions may make Amazon bolder in fighting the taxes.

This past week a judge in Chicago ruled that Illinois’ Amazon tax was unconstitutional. In Denver, Judge Robert Blackburn ruled Colorado’s Amazon tax unconstitutional because it, “impose[s] an undue burden on interstate commerce…Enforcing a reporting requirement on out-of-state retailers will, by definition, discriminate against the out-of-state retailers by imposing unique burdens on those retailers.” I expect the Colorado Department of Revenue to appeal.

There is the possibility of this case heading to the US Supreme Court in a couple of years, especially if one Appeals Court rules the tax constitutional and another court rules it unconstitutional.

When Buying a Business in Texas…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

…ask for the Certificate of No Tax Due from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Alan Sherman of the Texas State & Local Tax Law Blog explains why.

BOE Updates Top 500 Sales & Use Tax Delinquents in California

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

A few years ago, the California Legislature passed a bill requiring the Board of Equalization (California’s sales tax agency) to publish a list of the top 500 deadbeats each quarter. That list has just been updated. On top of the list is California Target Enterprises Inc. with a debt of $18.4 million; at the bottom of the list is Mega Micro, Inc. with a debt of $404,390.

In scanning the list the one thing that struck me was the number of automobile dealerships on the list. I can’t believe it’s that hard to figure out and remit the sales tax on a new or used car. However, my mother told me about how “honest” used car salesmen are….That said, there are new car dealers on the list, too; a relatively new listing is Auto First Financial Corp. dba Silicon Valley Hummer with a debt of $2.85 million.

To date, the list has caused the BOE to receive $5.3 million in payments, so this is one of the few accomplishments of the California legislature.

Sales Tax on Services Under Consideration in Maryland

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

For those who haven’t followed Clayton Financial and Tax, we now have an office in Maryland. Our charges for preparing your return aren’t dependent on whether you’re in our Las Vegas or Bethesda office. However, that may soon change.

Shiela Hixson and James Gilchrist, two Democrats in the Maryland House of Delegates (the lower chamber of Maryland’s legislature) introduced legislation that would add sales tax to 29 different services. The services that would be taxed under this proposed legislation include tax preparation, gyms, cable television, consulting, and dating services.

If this tax passes, the added costs to our business will be passed on to our customers. And, yes, there are always added costs in compliance: The time we will have to spend complying with bureaucratic paperwork.

I haven’t been following Maryland’s budget situation, but I’m sure they (like every state) are facing some shortfalls. The typical Democratic response is to increase revenues, not decrease expenses. That may be one of the reasons “Blue” states find themselves with worse budget situations than “Red” states. However, I might just be too cynical.

[Image of Maryland’s state flag from Wikipedia]

We’re Back, But Will the Sales Tax Deduction Come Back in 2012?

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

I’ve moved into my new office, and everything is more-or-less running correctly in my new office in Las Vegas. There’s a new fax number (yes, there’s a real fax machine in my office) for those who need to send me a fax. So I’m back in business.

However, now that I’m a Nevadan, there’s the issue of the deduction for sales tax. That’s not going to be an issue for 2011 (individuals can choose between deducting sales tax or income tax for this calendar year), but as of now the deduction for sales tax will vanish for 2012. It’s vanished before (most recently, in 2009) but was retroactively reenacted; this may happen again for 2012. We’ll have to wait and see.

The BOE Does Something Smart

Monday, October 31st, 2011

One of my clients received a letter from the California Board of Equalization:

Our records of your qualified purchaser use tax account indicate that you have filed “zero returns” (no use tax to report) for three consecutive years. Therefore, this letter is to inform you that we are canceling your qualified purchaser use tax account….

My client was required to register for a use tax account as he had gross sales of over $100,000. He buys everything from retailers, so he’s never had a purchase subject to use tax. Yet he’s had to file use tax returns for the last three years.

Not anymore. The BOE has decided that California service businesses that have no purchases subject to use tax for three consecutive years will now not need to file use tax returns. Those returns are due on April 15th…a day tax professionals have something else to worry about.

That said, more and more jurisdictions are beginning to enforce use tax laws. We’re adding a form with our Organizers for 2011 regarding use tax as it’s clear where this is heading. Still, the BOE’s action is a ray of sunshine on the tax front.

Amazon and California Legislators Strike a Deal

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Yesterday, and key California legislative leaders of both parties struck a deal. Assuming this deal passes the state legislature and is signed by Governor Brown, will begin collecting sales tax in California on September 12, 2012. However, if Congress were to pass a national law dealing with Internet retailers, that law would supersede this legislation.

Amazon has been trying to get a referendum qualified on the California ballot. That measure would put the new “Amazon Tax” up to a vote of the people (probably on the March/June presidential primary); if the referendum were to pass, the Amazon Tax would be a thing of the past.

From Amazon’s view, this measure gives them a year to operate without any legal worries, and a year to lobby Congress to pass a national measure. (Given that next year is a presidential election year, I’m not hopeful of anything substantive passing Congress.) For key Democrats, this deal gives the likely certainty of future revenues versus the strong possibility of the Amazon Tax heading into history via a probable referendum.

That said, Governor Brown has not stated his position on the measure. Should he veto the measure, it’s likely the referendum would move forward.

BOE Approves Use Tax Table for Indviduals

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The Board of Equalization approved a tax table that individuals can use (if they wish) to report Use Tax for their 2011 tax returns (filed in 2012). Use Tax is owed by individuals and businesses when they buy products where sales tax is not charged but would be charged if they purchased it in a local store.

The table is only for non-business purchases of $1,000 or less; businesses cannot use the table and must report their actual expenses. The table is:

Adjusted Gross Income Use Tax
Less than $20,000 $7
$20,000 – $39,999 $21
$40,000 – $59,999 $35
$60,000 – $79,999 $49
$80,000 – $99,999 $63
$100,000 – $149,999 $88
$150,000 – $199,999 $123
More than $199,999 AGI times 0.07% (0.0007)

Again, businesses must use actual expenses to calculate Use Tax.

Most individuals ignore Use Tax so it’s likely having the table will increase compliance with the law.

Bozo Tax Tip #5: Sales Tax is an Unnecessary Expense

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Imagine you are running a business.  Times are tough and you need to make some serious cuts in expenses to stay afloat.  Or perhaps you are just greedy.  In any case, let’s suppose you neglect to pay your payroll tax.  Well,  even many Bozos know that neglecting to pay your Federal payroll taxes is the quickest possible trip to ClubFed for a tax crime.  So, no, that is not what today’s Bozo allegedly did.

Mr. Steven Scali was arrested  recently for grand larceny in Happauge, NY, (as originally reported on HapauugePatch).  Apparently, he was wanted for failure to pay $50,000 in sales tax to the state of NY.  If convicted, he will be facing a very possible stay at SingSing.

Yes, if you are collecting sales tax, you must remit said sales tax to the taxing authority.  If you do not, you are committing a Bozo act. Just like with payroll taxes, the government always goes after people taking “their” money.