1.   Remember a few months back we mentioned that the feds had instituted an excise tax on tanning beds?

It seems that Snooki, (of Jersey Girls… fame?) has weighed in on the deep public policy issues surrounding the imposition of excise and sales taxes on items not only as a revenue source, but also to discourage the consumption or use of certain products.

Well, sort of.  From the linked article:

” “I don’t go tanning tanning anymore, because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning,” Snooks said after her juicehead sprayed her face with one last coat of self-tanner, just to be on the safe side.”

First of all, ‘her juicehead’ is apparently Snooki’s latest love interest.  Umm, OK.  But actually she does bring a little nugget of wisdom to the grown-up’s table: she is avoiding the very activity the sales tax on tanning beds was designed to discourage.

No matter your political bend or position on ‘sin taxes’, Snooki makes the point that these types of public policy initiatives are effective and are going to be here for a long time.

Whether or not the tax code is the appropriate place for gummint to make its stamp on the social and legal environment is a debate for another day, but the practical offshoot here is a decrease in over-tanned spoiled princesses and melanoma, those are good things.  However, another offshoot of the perceived successes of ‘sin taxes’ are the sales tax compliance headaches presented by a proliferation of them.

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2.  The Washington State candy tax is now in force (as of June 1).  See this page from Washington DOR for facts and definitions.

We are most struck by this admission:

“The Department recognizes that this legislation did not allow enough time for retailers to identify all “candy” by June 1, 2010.”

Actually, the mea culpa ought to come from the Washington state legislature.  The decision to craft an entirely Washington-only definition of candy has created unintended (we hope) consequences, as our earlier post alluded to.

Well, add another repercussion from the decision to create bill with a definition of candy that did not comply with other recognized definitions of candy.  Now the Washington state DOR must commit resources to help relieve frazzled Washington candy vendors:

” “( A retailer may) request a written Department letter ruling establishing whether a product is “candy” ”

A Private Letter Ruling on the candiness of Cough Drops, on the sweetness of Sour Patch Kids, on the flour content of Frooties???

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3.  And finally, just when our IT guru thought we were done titillating you with tales of shiny brass poles, blue lights and the dulcet melodies of def leppard, we bring you Amy Fisher!

Those of us born before 1980 will remember the name Amy Fisher for perhaps less than stellar circumstances, but sales tax geeks may have found a new tag by which to store that memory.

It seems that last month (sorry we are late, we have been trying to be more substantive lately…whatever…), Ms. Fisher decided to expose the world to her most intimate charms in an effort to raise money for local schools, but also to pitch a sales tax on pole dancing in her native Nassau County on Long Island.  (That’s pronounced ‘Longuy-land’ for those of you who never had the pleasure of meeting a native).

Our job here is to help recognize the sales tax compliance issues that accompany proposed changes to the creaky contraption we call sales tax law.  Honestly, this proposal presents some concepts heretofore unexplored on da blog.

For example, will the tax apply equally to ‘revenue’ tossed on stage and ‘revenue’ tucked in g-strings?   Will there be a special form to report strips per shift, shimmies per song or peeks per pervert?  Will there be stripper sales tax holidays?

Wow, sales tax compliance for strippers can be complicated!

Just like sales tax compliance for everything else, at least for vendors who decline to find a trusted partner in the sales tax space.