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SSTP – caving once again.

Posted by salestax on March 5, 2009

So, us sales tax crazies sit back and watch this SSTP group try to make things better.  It seemed at one time (maybe 5 years ago) that it was on the right track – even getting WA to become destination based.  Boy, I bet WA is kicking itself now.  With NJ being allowed to change rates at the drop of a hat (supposedly a no-no when you’re a member state) and then going belly-up with the destination rule.  And another great job of caving with the optional taxes… where will it end?  Well, it’s not ending yet.  What was once an ideal situation that all businesses in the know and professionals trying to get their heads around these crazy rules that legislators come up with to make sales/use tax compliance near impossible to get right, were all paying attention to and ready to stand behind, it seems that it’s just another group of legislators getting their cake and eating it too. 

Sure the states want to be a part of this.  It might be the only way they can get around the ’92 Quill case and force suppliers to collect their state’s taxes.  BUT… my friend, only if they get their carve out.  Carve out, carve out. 

MA is the latest one to use this tactic.  Now, we can have a carve out for clothing exemption thresholds.  Once this agreement was to abolish dumb thresholds and price ceilings, etc.  I’m just waiting for TN to come back to the table now and say… oh, hey… “we’d like our $1600 and $3200” thresholds on purchases to be grandfathered in, and we’ll be back on board.  UGH!!!  This needs to stop!

Next we’ll have CA and TX saying “if we can grandfather our mixed origin/destination lunacy, we’re in” or Colorado and Louisiana saying “if we can have a carve out for our home rule cities that existed before 2009, we’re in.”  

It’s infuriating to those of us out there hoping for something good to come out of it.  Instead, it’s just making us ill! 

And, don’t even get me started on that exemption certificate!  What a mess this has become!  Customers don’t know it exists.  Vendors don’t know if a number is needed on a line or not.  Is a DL really enough?  Jeeze!  Where will it end? 

And then… the god aweful taxability matrix?  How much more vague can you get? 

And, who’s in charge of that website?  You can’t find anything on it.  The minutes are never updated timely – go ahead try to find this clothing carve out vote on the website.  There are no governing board minutes for 2009.  Heck, December’s isn’t even there.  If you really want to know what’s going on, you have to log on to each and every phone call and meeting that is called and take your own notes or subscribe to a news wire for the updates. 

I better stop now.  Thanks for listening.  I’ve needed to rant about this for some time now. 

If you have any interest in trying to figure any of this out, visit the website at:  www.streamlinedsalestax.org

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