NYS Sales Tax System: BOOOOO!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

NYS Sales Tax System: BOOOOO!

I actually remember back before there was a New York State Sales Tax!

It was first imposed (at 2%) by Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller to pay for his proposed 33.48 billion budget, a $598 million increase in spending.

(By way of comparison, Rocky wanted to double the tax on cigarettes, bringing the cost of a pack to 40¢!)

I consulted with local businessman "Red" Eckart who was not reticent about expressing his opinion:

  1. "It's a Communist plot!"
  2. "That's the camel's nose under the tent... be 5% before you know it!"

In the past 46 years it actually grew to 8¾% before they dropped it back an eighth of a per­centage point to where it is now.

I've been paying sales taxes since 1972, and aside from that first year when I punted it be­cause I didn't understand the form I had to file, I've never had any problems paying the State its due, either quarterly or annually.

Over the last four years, things on the W.A. Harriman Campus in Albany have been getting a little weird. I keep getting notices that I need to open up digital accounts and, for reasons which elude me and they cannot explain, to obtain new Sales Tax ID numbers.

This year they directed me to not only file electronically, but remit that way as well!

(Hey!, I fully support "paperless!" Save a tree at every opportunity!)

There are, however, kinks to be worked out!

It took me the better part of two days poking around the NYS Sales Tax Website and being thwarted at every turn in attempting to file electronically before I finally picked up the 'phone and asked for help.

And, after a not-unreasonable wait time, I got a terrific and patient young woman who eased me through the process and. just like that I was done!

Forms were completed and filed, information was provided which allowed the Sales Tax Bureau to take the proper payment out of my SCNB accounts, and in short order I received E-mails confirming my payments... with seven days to spare before filing deadline!

Onward and upward to matters IRS!

Ennnt! Not so fast, fella!

Comes in the mail(!) this past weekend a notice from NYS Sales Tax informing me that my electronic payment for WHB Creative Graphics could not be processed by their system, and enclosed an invoice for my 2010-2011 sales tax... plus penalties and interest!

Monday morning I was all over them!

Odd thing was, they didn't fight me one iota when I finally got to speak with an actual person in the Protest Department... they know there are problems with the new process, and are more than willing to accept the original amount... just put the check in the mail!

I confirmed with Suffolk County National Bank that nothing had been debited by NYS Sales Tax last month, and, bless them, they used a little utility to see if anything from them had been attempted, and refused, last month.

SCNB's records showed that it hadn't, so some NYS Sales Tax computer screwed up and had the temerity to put the blame on me!

For the record, the sales tax payment for my second business was properly processed, and the money deftly debited from another SCNB account... so it can work!

I cut a check in the traditional manner, put a stamp on the envelope and sent in my WHB Creative Graphics sales tax payment this afternoon.

Confidence is high that it will be accepted and I won't have to concern myself with this for another 11 months.

On the way home I chuckled and imagined what "Red" Eckart might have said to me... probably something like:

"Told you 46 years ago no good could come of this! The camel's nose and such...."

I never should've doubted him!


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