Tuesday, February 07, 2012

PA to collect sales tax for online purchases

First they went after the smokers

Online cigarette buyers hit with taxes


As if your tax returns weren't complicated enough. Now the PA Dept of Revenue added a line on the PA40 so you can declare what you bought online last year and pay the 6% sales tax.

State to put hammer down on online sales taxes

There's a new line on that form for the 2011 tax year, for consumers to self-report -- and pay -- the state's sales tax on online purchases...It's called the use tax, and although it's been on the books since 1953, the state is making a new push to collect it, starting with purchases made in 2011. The reason? As the popularity of online and mail-order retail services grow, the state wants to protect its brick-and-mortar retailers. It also wants to make sure it gets its share of the pie..."It's a matter of fairness," state Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser said in a statement.

Call me cynic but I think this has less to do with protecting local retailers than pulling in more tax revenue for the state. If I have to pay the sales tax on things I buy online that's life but don't expect me and you to retroactively produce receipts and figure out how much we owe.

In instances when they find consumers haven't paid the tax, revenue officials will pursue the tax owed, plus penalties and interest. And they'll identify those not reporting the tax through audits, complaints, investigations and checks of purchase lists made with out-of-state companies.

The onus should be on the companies that sold us the products to do the accounting. If I owe the the tax I'll pay it but not penalties and interest. Although the law has been on the books for a long time the enforcement smells of ex post facto.

Readers of this blog will remember Dan Mueser from his 2008 run for the Republican nomination in the PA 10th Congressional District that he lost to Chris Hackett who then was bested by Democrat Chris Carney in the General Election. Too bad they didn't hold their powder until the 2010 wave election so the people of the 10th CD would have a House member that really represents them instead of Louis DeNaples.


Anonymous said...

Meuser is an idiot - ask him what college he DIDN'T ever graduate from...

Forrest Gump said...

Let them come after all of us. I'll be damned if I'm going to keep track of online purchases. Until the retailer I buy something from collects sales tax during my purchase, they can just keep waiting.