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Illinois Zaps Zapper-Users

  • Aug 20, 2013 | Gail Cole

 Illinois has criminalized tax zappers.

Illinois is the latest state to criminalize sales suppression devices. HB 49, which amends the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act and the Service Occupation Tax Act, took effect on August 16, 2013.

Under the amended law, anyone who "knowingly sells, purchases, installs, transfers, possesses, uses, or accesses any automated sales suppression device, zapper, or phantom-ware in this State is guilty of a Class 3 felony."

Sales suppression devices, often called tax zappers, enable businesses to underreport taxable sales by erasing true records of sales and creating false records. They are most effective for businesses with a great deal of cash sales, as credit and debit cards and checks leave a paper trail. Yet even a small number of daily transactions can add up to large amounts of missing sales tax revenue over time.

Increasingly, states are going after that missing sales tax revenue by making the use of tax zappers illegal. Vermont criminalized sales suppression devices last spring, but granted a temporary safe harbor to encourage people who used them to step forward and come clean. They became illegal in Washington State on July 28, 2013. And in December, it will be a crime to use, have or transfer tax zappers in North Carolina.

Automated sales suppression devices make you a criminal. Sales tax automation makes complying with the law easy.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
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.