Just for Fun, Sales & Use Taxes

Why I Dislike State Sales and Use Taxation

On a few occasions, a handful of my clients have wondered out loud to me why I don’t know everything about all states’ and their localities’ sales and use taxation laws.  To start with, that knowledge is comparable to knowing the tax laws of 46 countries written in about 46 different languages.  (Five states don’t have state sales and use taxes.  The District of Columbia does.)  Then there are local sales and use taxes, even in states that don’t have a statewide sales and use tax.  Of course, there is also nauseous noxious nexus.

Thomson Reuters, a financial publisher, issues a list of each year’s new “Quirky Sales and Use Tax Laws.”  Here are a few from the 2012 list.

  • In Illinois, candies that contain flour are exempt from the state’s candy tax, which applies to all other candies.  Fans of Whoppers malted milk balls, Nestle’s Crunch, Wonka Bars, and Kit Kat Bars are in luck.
  • While food and food products are typically tax exempt, New York has deemed vegan edible gummy drinking glasses taxable. Under the current ruling, the glasses are deemed a confection and therefore taxable under current sales and use tax law.  Darn, I was planning to buy my wife a set of twelve of those gummy glasses.
  • Residents of Sitka, Alaska, are now exempt from sales tax for the purchase of goods, services and rentals after reaching the tender age of 65.  Nice place.  The herring fishery is underway at this time.
  • In Alabama, playing card decks that contain less than 54 cards are charged an additional $0.10 excise tax.  To ensure compliance, each taxable deck must have “revenue stamps” affixed to the individual package. The stamps must be affixed in such a manner that their removal will require continued application of water or steam.  All taxable playing cards found in the possession of any person, firm, corporation, club or association without having stamps affixed in this manner are subject to confiscation.  Wouldn’t it be a bummer to be caught by the law illegally gambling and have your cards confiscated, too?

I rest my case.