Friday, December 18, 2009

Flag Exemptions

In the category of nutty sales and use tax exemptions, these states impose no tax the sale of flags. In all cases there is no sales tax on the US flag. And most exempt theirs as well.

Connecticut - US and CT
Florida - US and FL
Maryland - US and MD
Massachusetts - US only
New Jersey - US and NJ
New York - US and NY
Pennsylvania - US and PA
Rhode Island - US and RI
Vermont - US flag only, and only for sales to or by nonprofit veterans organizations
Virginia - US , VA and local flags if sold by government agency
West Virginia - US and WV - regulation size only
Wisconsin - US and WI

This is an article I've been meaning to right for a while; frankly, ever since I came across this exemption for the first time. I'm guessing that the US exemptions were enacted in some fit of patriotic fervor on the part of the politicians. But the state flags? And nobody is going to vote against the law, or argue to repeal it because they would be toasted in the campaign commercials.

Imagine the youtube video, "Joe Blow, your representative, actually voted to repeal the sales tax exemption for the US Flag. What kind of American is he?? Vote for Tom Jones and he'll reinstate the exemption as soon as he takes office!"

And why give the exemption anyway? Are people buying more flags in those states because of the exemptions? If you drive through the residential areas of Milwaukee, will you see a lot of Wisconsin state flags flying proudly below all of the US flags?

Heck, I'll bet that most retailers in those states charge sales tax anyway because the sales tax software company didn't program this one - they didn't even know about it! Who would have thought?

Now, of course, they will. Because I just know they all read this blog. Sure. And Santa's coming in a few days too.

Have a nice weekend, folks.

Sales Tax Guy

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Anonymous said...

As the owner of a Flag store in Florida, You are wrong on 2 things. Number 1 people appreciate the fact that this exemption exists, especially when business buy huge flags in the hundreds of dollars. Also, anyone can program a register to collect tax or make an item tax exempt. It is silly to think that we collect the tax and keep it.

Jim Frazier said...

1. First, you said that people "appreciate" the exemption. That's not surprising. But are people walking into your store and buying flags because the exemption exists? Everybody appreciates an exemption. The question is why do it for flags? Why not do it for cars? That would be WAY more appreciated.

2. I'm not suggesting that the flag retailers are "keeping" the taxes. I'm not sure how you read that. I'm saying that most retailers don't program the exemption into their registers because they either: don't know about it, or don't care.

You're in a unique category because you operate a flag store. The average voter probably buys their flags at the grocery store

Ed Snyder said...

I'm from Ohio, however I recently spent time in Florida to care for a sick relative. When Tropical Storm Debbie came blowing thru his flag was shredded. I went to Walmart for a new flag as that is one of the few stores I can find a Quality flag, made in America. I was not charged sales tax and because of that, I went back and purchased another flag for home. My second purchase wasn't because I felt like it was a discount, but because I wanted to give business to a state with a patriotic commitment.

Tony Stefanelli said...

I like NJ's detail. Only the flag is exempt, not flag themed stuff.