Privacy Nightmare: Online Retailers Must Report Vermont Purchases To Government

By Aaron Kesel

Thanks to a new law in Vermont, the state may soon know your online purchases to pressure residents to pay a “use tax,” WCAX reported.

Vermont’s use tax is meant to make sure that Vermont citizens don’t shop online or across the border to avoid the state’s sales tax. Currently, only about 10 percent of people pay the 6% use tax according to Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom. He estimated about half of taxpayers owe the tax. So about 80 percent of people are currently not paying the tax. But that may change next year as the new measure will allow tax authorities to chase after residents who don’t pay the tax.

Lawmakers passed legislation that requires online retailers with more than $100,000 in sales to Vermonters each year to report to customers and the tax department how much they’ve spent with them. This measure applies to anyone who has spent more than $500 with an online retailer. The state hopes you’ll use that information to calculate how much tax you should have paid.

This has sparked privacy concerns, although Samsom assures that the product purchased wouldn’t be shown to tax authorities, only the retailer and the customer’s name and address.

“It is focused on folks with a lot of online activity with larger vendors. The information would be pretty bare-bones, we expect, if it complies with the law which is the name of the retailer, the name of the taxpayer and probably the address. Not what they purchased,” Vermont Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom said.

It has put Samsom in a tough spot. He had testified against this to lawmakers.

“But now I have to enforce it,” he said.

Samsom said Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott opposed the data collection, citing privacy concerns.

“There were privacy concerns because if you think about it, just the name of the vendor is a new set of information that Vermonters are not used to the tax department having,” Samsom said.

Scott was among the 20,000 Vermonters to receive a notice from the Department of Taxes warning that they may owe the state the 6% tax and to double-check their tax returns for the last three years.

“He did receive one of the use tax letters from the Tax Department,” Rebecca Kelley, a spokeswoman for the Governor said. “It shows you that there was no bias in who the letters were sent to.”

The state and Vermonters should get the first round of data from online retailers at the end of January, the news publication reported.

Samsom said the state is missing out on about $20 million. So even if the effort by the tax department doesn’t collect all the money owed, they hope to at least get some of it.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Steemit, and BitChute. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

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9 Comments on "Privacy Nightmare: Online Retailers Must Report Vermont Purchases To Government"

  1. That’s a good way to kill the economy. If I can’t do purchases without sales tax via the Internet, no go. I’m not enabling communist money junkies.

    End the fed!

    “If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money broker collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%. Whereas the currency, the honest sort provided by the Constitution pays nobody but those who contribute in some useful way. It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency. Both are promises to pay, but one fattens the usurer and the other helps the People.” — Thomas Edison

  2. The security dangers with this alone will make any online purchase by anyone in Vermont
    a foolish act. I suspect even now steps are being taken by prudent Vermont folks to make
    sure no online purchase of theirs shows up as originating inside Vermont. The scope for
    government abuse and taking your $$$ in error is just to great to risk….

  3. Muhammad Abbass | November 23, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Reply

    The various governments around the world seem to be entering into a terminal fight with their citizens in a last ditch effort to survive. I suspect this is a losing strategy and instead will just swell the lists of government lackeys the people will soon be looking for with rope and pitchforks in hand. People have seen the nakedness of the emperor and the word is spreading fast.

  4. Disqus-helpsGOVTbreaklaws&kill | November 24, 2017 at 12:23 am | Reply

    taxpayer funded govt employee labor unions need their tax revenue generation .

  5. Disqus-helpsGOVTbreaklaws&kill | November 24, 2017 at 12:26 am | Reply

    where ever you find high taxes

    you will find looming govt employee labor union salary and pension debt.

  6. Dominick Perez | November 24, 2017 at 1:41 am | Reply

    They need the money to pay for all of the refugees being settled up there lol meanwhile the taxpayers get the shaft as usual.

  7. George_Costanza | November 24, 2017 at 8:24 am | Reply

    How about the fact that they have it backwards.
    Yes, you should pay a sale tax on out-of-state purchases, but ONLY if all of your in-state purchases are tax free. That is how you protect your in state only businesses, from unfair multi-state mega-corporation {if not multi-national} competition.
    So, I think Vermont is getting more under the current setup, than from a correct legal one.
    So, they should drop this vendetta against the citizenry.

  8. Just set up a VPN google it. VYPR is a good one

  9. Why do I as a retailer have to do something extra for a small-time state government? Seeing that Vermont is only around 2% total revenue, I might just do this:

    $35.99 subtotal
    $7.60 State of Vermont Reporting Burden
    $2.10 Vermont Use Tax

    The $7.60 (20%!) is just for us having to deal with Vermont. Another thing we might just do is stop doing business with Vermont customers altogether every time noting why we are not interested and giving them the governor’s office to call why they can’t have affordable quality office supplies but everybody else in the US can.

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