Dear Lawbreakers:

Yes; I’m talking directly to you.

See, I’m reading and hearing a whole lot lately about how sacred are the "laws of the land." …How respectful and reverent we must be and how solemn must be our demeanor when contemplating the dire warnings of crumbled civilizations brought about by the prospect of lawbreakers!!! Well, dear reader:


Do you own a computer? An Internet connection? Browse the Internet? Ever shop? Buy anything online? Ever not be charged sales tax, like from Amazon, or a private purchase on eBay or the like? Yes? Uh…and did you calculate your sales tax liability over the entire year of purchases and send in a check to your governor? Do you send in a check for purchases you make in other states with no sales tax or a lower sales tax while traveling or on vacation?


Online purchases from sites like and eBay may seem to arrive
in a state of untaxed bliss. But the law actually requires shoppers to
pay their own state’s sales tax rate–the concept is called a "use tax"–and voluntarily cough up the exact amount owed each year at tax time.


New York state has added a line to income tax returns requiring all
residents to calculate how much they should pay on Internet, mail order
or out-of-state purchases. The threat is explicit: Anyone who
creatively underestimates will face stiff penalties if an audit occurs.

"If you’ve written zero or left it blank, during the audit we’re
going to make you produce your financial records, bank statements,
credit card statements," said Michael Bucci, a spokesman for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.
"If we find out you have made purchases you haven’t reported to us, not
only are you going to be liable for the amount owed, the tax liability,
but also interest and penalties, which…could be up to three times as
much as what you actually owe."

For the first time this year, California has taken its
thou-shalt-pay-up warnings to the Internet through banner
advertisements on four newspaper Web sites. One on the Sacramento Bee’s site warns: "Make online purchases? You might owe use tax." (It has the
benefit of being easily, and accurately, misread as "You might owe us tax.")


"One reason we want to collect the use tax and have been very
aggressive about it is that 100 percent of the sales tax goes to
education–the use tax does too," said Danny Brazell, a spokesman for
South Carolina’s Department of Revenue.

South Carolina is one of the more diligent states–or from a taxpayer’s
perspective, one of the most brutal. It has signed a deal with the U.S.
Customs Service to obtain records about state residents who import
expensive items from abroad; has sent out random mailings to taxpayers;
and has added a line to its income tax return.


"In the event that we were auditing one of our customers, one of our
taxpayers, if we found a use tax liability, yes they would be held
accountable for that and there would be penalties," said Gore, the
California tax agency spokeswoman. Those include an interest rate of 9
percent, and, if negligence is proven, a 10 percent additional penalty.

California residents pay a sales and use tax of up to 8.75 percent in
some areas, one of the highest in the nation. Golden State laws are
strict: If Californians travel to a state with a 5 percent tax and shop
there, the law requires them  to write a check to the state tax agency for up to the 3.75 percent difference upon their return.

Well, you know, since we live in a day when the most essential attribute of America that most people seem to be able to regurgitate is that we’re a "nation of laws," it seems to me that we’re in quite a pickle. …Although, I’m sure that the thousands of people who read that CNET article, the hundreds who read this blog entry, and the many who’ll be informed elsewhere will immediately commence sending in their checks–you know–since "we’re a nation of laws" & all.

(via DeCoster)

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  1. Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2006 at 18:14

    Your assertion appears to be contradicted by quotes in the article from CA's own tax rep.

  2. Lute Nikoley on April 17, 2006 at 17:55

    I just did my income tax, both Federal and State and there was no such question asked on the Turbo Tax Preperation software. I know there is no federal sales tax on online purchases and I don't think there is a CA state sales tax, unless the online company you are doing business with is located in the state of CA.

  3. Doug_S on April 17, 2006 at 18:19

    I definitely understand (maybe I should say, have sympathy for, because you would contest my use of understand) your play out of principles.

    Same dialetic that gets us to libertarians unwilling to react on a military scale to an attack.

    If more aisans moved to the new work in the 17th Century than Europeans, the New world would have had a vastly different political history. It would probably have been an ineffective and corrupt oriential style government followed by a Marxist dictatorship.

    The flow of people would have determined whether we had British enlightenment or oriential order. No?

  4. Doug_S on April 17, 2006 at 18:24

    I must have typed that but I thought I corrected many typo's. Do you think California would be as liberal as it is if Mexico retained political jusrisdiction over it? Do you think the US would annex California if the population of the territory was 100% Mexican nationals? Would the Roman State exist if non-Roman people overwhelmed the Romans – as is their human right to move in and do?

  5. Tracy V on April 17, 2006 at 15:04

    They don't deserve the taxes they get!!

    The lawbreakers are the ones collecting income taxes!!

    The real lawbreakers are the IRS and federal government!


  6. Ironbear on April 19, 2006 at 01:15

    …Although, I'm sure that the thousands of people who read that CNET article, the hundreds who read this blog entry, and the many who'll be informed elsewhere will immediately commence sending in their checks–you know–since "we're a nation of laws" & all.

    *snicker* You betting money? I want a peice of that action. ;]

  7. web_loafer on April 19, 2006 at 23:07

    You are confused, perhaps we should tax confusion.

    I might suggest that you study a little bit about why America…..decided to fight for Independence from Great Britain. All of you clueless graduates from our public schools, should not be allowed to blog, until you pay your confusion tax.

    Oh, I'm sure you added a few hundred dollars to your tax bill this year, because you are so good, and love to pay taxes to support the

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