posted by Terry Hallenbeck
August 30, 2017
The state tax department is sending nearly 20,000 letters to Vermonters informing them that they may owe sales tax for online purchases. If so, they’ve got two months to pay up without interest or penalty.
The “Dear Taxpayer” letter reads, “Most Vermonters owe use tax, however many don’t fully understand what use tax is or how much they owe.”
Use tax is what Vermonters pay in lieu of a sales tax collected at the time of purchase — usually when buying something online, over the phone, in a state such as New Hampshire that doesn’t charge a sales tax, or by mail. The letter is meant to inform Vermonters that they are responsible for paying that use tax when filing their annual income tax form.
The Department of Taxes is attempting this year to collect more unpaid sales tax, according to commissioner Kaj Samsom. In setting the 2018 state budget, Vermont lawmakers counted on an increased sales tax haul of $3.175 million.
“It’s become a more important thing to emphasize as more sales shift online,” the tax commissioner said Tuesday.