Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let the other guy do it!

Ice Fishing
I wrote an article yesterday where the customer was insisting that they weren't taxable and I suggested that they were.  I also suggested that the customer provide the seller with proof that the purchase was exempt.  I wanted to link to an article I wrote on this narrow subject, but found that I never did write anything.  So here ya go.  And yes, I'm going back and adding the link to yesterday's article.

I've written many times about where to find answers.  Most of these resources require that you spend money, and all of them require that you spend your valuable time.  But here's the thing.  If you're a regular reader of this blog, or other sales and use tax publications, then you are probably much more well-informed on sales and use taxes than just about anyone else you're going to routinely meet.  

When you find yourself in a situation where a vendor or customer is insisting that the sales tax law is different than you believe, make them prove it.  Don't waste your time researching the issue when they are probably wrong.  Remember, you're smarter than they are.

By the way, proof isn't "well, that's what my boss said."  Proof is in writing with references to statutes, regulations, bulletins or court cases.  "Well, the auditor told us to do it this way," isn't enough either.  

Here's one way the dialogue might go:

You: "I understand what you're saying, but my boss and I have been to several sales tax seminars and webinars* and I read a lot about sales and use taxes and I've never heard about that rule.  Can you email me the statute that gives the details.  I'm going need something to show my boss."  

Remember to always use your boss's persnicketiness as an excuse.  

Them: "Well, I don't have that.  That's just what my boss told me to do." 

You: "And I appreciate that.  But I still have to charge you tax unless I can show my boss something authoritative that shows it's exempt.  You must have something like that in the files.  Maybe you can call your CPA." 

Let them pay the money to have the CPA research it.  Remember that you're smarter than them.  Relax.  Go fishing. **

* an admittedly shameless plug 
** picture tie-in

The Sales Tax Guy

See the disclaimer - this is for education only.  Research these issues thoroughly before making decisions.  Remember: there are details that haven't been discussed, and every state is different.  Here's more information

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