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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOE ideas for reducing the use tax gap

Today I came across a memo from the California Board of Equalization dated June 2011 that lists many suggestions for reducing the use tax gap. That is, the use tax owed but not collected by vendors or remitted by buyers to the state. Some of the ideas:
  • Use information from shipping companies to identify people buying out-of-state
  • Media campaigns
  • Ask vendors to include information on invoices about use tax
  • Provide buyers easy way to pay when they buy
  • Use tax amnesty for past purchases
  • Require CPAs and tax preparers to complete CE on sales and use tax law
  • Require return preparers to explain use tax and ask clients if they have a liability to report

Several of these are good ideas, such as asking vendors to include use tax information on their invoice. Or perhaps it should be a URL to the BOE website. I support finding a way for the buyer to pay the tax right away - such as having the state charge their credit card at the same time the vendor does. The vendor would not need to report such sales because the use tax was already paid.

What do you think?

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