We understand that sales taxes can be a nightmare for a retailer trying to sell to everyone everywhere at once. What’s taxed in one state is tax-exempt in another, and then a third state only taxes that product above a certain dollar value. Most major online retailers have figured out this mess, but what do you do when a website charges you tax on an item that you know is exempt?
Under New Jersey tax laws, it’s illegal to charge sales tax on disposable household paper products. But, according to a recently filed lawsuit, Costco hasn’t been following that rule, allegedly tacking on sales tax for toilet paper. [More]
With billions of state and local tax dollars going un-collected each year because a number of online retailers either aren’t required to collect the taxes or are shirking their responsibilities, a proposal circulating around Congress takes a new “simplified” (but really kind of complex) approach to get more e-tailers collecting sales tax. [More]
E-commerce companies don’t have to collect sales tax from customers who live in states where they have no physical presence, which could be anything from their headquarters to a distribution center. That’s been one of the advantages that Jet has had in the marketplace over its chief rival Amazon, which has facilities in 28 states, including the most populous ones. Jet customers in most states don’t have to pay sales tax. However, that could change soon, after Walmart’s acquisition of the young e-commerce company. [More]
It’s a time-honored back-to-school tradition: some states use the season as an excuse to offer tax holidays. That’s when they suspend the sales tax on certain items, like new clothing and school supplies, to decrease the financial burden on parents and encourage everyone to shop a little more. While shoppers love it, this doesn’t really work as an economic stimulus, since shoppers just shift planned purchases from other times to the tax holiday. [More]
For nearly 25 years, the general standard for whether a state could compel a mail-order or online retailer to collect sales tax from customers was that retailer’s physical presence (or lack thereof) in that state. More recently, some states have tweaked their laws so that total sales — and not physical connection — is the determining factor. Online tech store Newegg is the latest retailer to challenge these new rules, taking issue with Alabama’s determination that the company owes the state more than $185,000 in sales tax. [More]
Amazon now collects sales tax in more than half the states, but that still leaves a substantial portion of the country not paying taxes on their purchases. Even in states where Amazon is collecting taxes, some other online retailers say they don’t have to collect taxes because they have no physical presence in the state. A new South Dakota law is a direct attack on these companies, and if it stands up to legal scrutiny it could have nationwide implications. [More]
Should tampon sales be taxed by the state? Five Manhattan women don’t think so, and have filed a lawsuit against New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance saying it should be tax-free.
Dunkin’ Donuts customers in New York and New Jersey are claiming in a new lawsuit that the company doesn’t understand how sales tax works in those states, resulting in combined overcharges worth nearly $14 million. That could buy a lot of coffee. [More]
Vee made a small purchase from the cosmetics store Ulta, and needed to return it. That happens. Where things got confusing, though, is that she didn’t receive a refund of the sales tax she had paid. When she questioned this, a store representative’s response was that “the website does not state that we do not give the taxes back when making a return.” What? [More]
Car ownership is fun and convenient, but paying sales tax, use tax, or personal property tax on your car is expensive and annoying. What if you could avoid that, and avoid annual car inspections, just by filling out a little bit of paperwork? That’s the premise of companies that offer to help you incorporate in Montana, have your corporation own the vehicle, and pay no taxes. [More]
Were you thinking about doing some shopping this weekend, for back-to-school season or just in general? Find out whether your state is holding a tax holiday, where state sales taxes are waived on certain categories of items: usually clothes, but sometimes also personal electronics, appliances, and hunting supplies, including firearms. Tax holidays and their limits vary regionally and your county or municipality may not be participating; check the rules before you shop. However, make sure that you don’t confuse it for a shopping spree. [Consumer Reports]
Sales taxes are variable from place to place and very visible, and they’re visible day-to-day as we dig in our pockets for change to pay a coffee tab of $3.14. Starting next year, Chicago will have the highest sales tax in the country, with state, county and city taxes adding up to 10.25%. [More]
While Walmart customers enjoy the ability to return items to any of the retailer’s locations, a number of these shoppers have claimed over the years that they were getting less for their returns than they should have because of sales tax differences between the purchase and return locations. Last week, a federal judge allowed a pending class action regarding shortchanged Walmart customers to continue. [More]
You can now add Minnesota to the growing list of states where Amazon will be collecting sales tax from customers after a surprise announcement on Monday that, starting Oct. 1, shoppers in the state will start seeing the tax added to their purchases. [More]
Earlier today, the calendar flipped from July to August, and kids everywhere groaned with the realization that they will soon have to be going back to school. But the even louder grousing you’re hearing this morning is from parents envisioning their bank accounts being drained by purchases of backpacks, clothes, pencils (do kids even use those anymore?), and those individual packs of tissues that will never be used but you buy anyway. What some of these parents don’t know is that a number of states have sales tax holidays in August — many of them starting today — to ease the burden of back-to-school spending. [More]