Monday, March 29, 2010

States Address Sales Tax Exemptions

Link to March 28 New York Times article, "States Look to Tax Services, From Head to Toe".

Excerpt:    In the scramble to find something, anything, to generate more revenue, states are considering new taxes on virtually everything: garbage pickup, dating services, bowling night, haircuts, even clowns.  [Peter Hamon alert!]

A Michigan proposal would lower the sales tax but make it broader, levying it on over 100 additional types of services like haircuts, including those at Chaltraw’s Barber Shop in Standish, where Al Marden awaited his turn.

“It’s hard enough doing what we do,” grumbled John Luke, a plumber in the Philadelphia suburbs. His services would, for the first time, come with an added tax if the governor has his way.

Opponents of imposing taxes on services like funerals, legal advice, helicopter rides and dry cleaning argue that this push comes as businesses are barely clinging to life and can ill afford to see customers further put off by new taxes. This is especially true, they say, in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, where some of the most sweeping proposals are being considered this spring.

But this is also a period of economic gloom for states. Pension funds are in the red, federal stimulus help will soon vanish, and revenues from traditional sources like income and property taxes are slumping ever lower, with few elected officials willing to risk voter wrath by raising them.

“This is born out of necessity,” said Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, a Democrat. His proposed budget, being debated in Harrisburg, would tax services including accounting, advertising and data processing.

Link to Administrative Services Manual, Wisconsin Sales Tax.

The issue of eliminating some exemptions has been raised -- and quickly shot down.
Sales tax exemptions come under scrutiny.  Limiting them could raise billions, officials say.  (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 11/27/2006)
Sales-tax exemption on table for Wisconsin Legislature.  (Milwaukee Daily Reporter, 3/30/2005)

On a related matter:
Sales Tax Issues for Wisconsin Public Libraries (DPI)

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