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Maine 2012 Use Tax Compliance Program Updated

  • Oct 16, 2012 | Gail Cole

The state of Maine is offering a Use Tax Compliance Program now through November 30, 2012. Earlier this month, Maine Revenue Services issued a letter explaining the 2012 Use Tax Compliance Program, which was created to encourage payment of past unreported use tax.

Use Tax Defined

The letter starts out with an explanation of use tax, a tax that is frequently overlooked by taxpayers throughout the country.

"Use Tax is a companion tax to the sales tax and is imposed when sales tax has not been paid on taxable items used in Maine. The two taxes operate in tandem; they generally apply to the same types of property and are imposed at the same rate. All states that have a sales tax also impose a use tax."

Most states rely on residents to voluntarily report and pay use tax. States such as California and Texas, where internet retailers now collect and remit sales and use tax, are quick to point out that the so-called Amazon Tax is not new--residents were always liable for use tax on items purchased tax-free over the internet. And in an effort to recoup lost sales and use tax revenue, the California Board of Equalization is sending Statewide Compliance and Outreach Program (SCOP) teams to every non-residential business in the state.

Maine Revenue Services wants residents to come to them. The current program offers "a limited opportunity to resolve all past use tax obligations by reporting and paying only those use taxes incurred during the 3 years between 2006 and 2011 in which you incurred the highest use tax liability."

Questions for All Taxpayers in Maine:

  • Have you purchased items in another state without paying sales tax, then brought the items to Maine?
  • Have you made purchases via the internet, mail order catalogs or over the telephone without paying sales tax to the seller?

Questions for Business Owners in Maine:

  • Have you withdrawn items from inventory for personal or business use that you purchased without paying sales tax?
  • Have you purchased business supplies or non-exempt equipment without paying sales tax?

If you answer yes to any of the questions listed above, you may be liable for Maine use tax. Learn more here.

"A participating taxpayer that timely submits the Special Use Tax Return with no material misrepresentations or material omissions and that timely pays the entire use-tax liability is absolved from further liability for unreported and unassessed use tax incurred prior to January 1, 2012, and is also absolved from liability for criminal prosecution and civil penalties related to those taxes for those years."

Maine taxpayers who owe past use tax and fail to participate in the 2012 Use Tax Compliance Program by November 30, 2012 may face penalties and criminal prosecution.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.