State wants use tax for online purchases

Published: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 - 2:21 pm

Attention, holiday shoppers: The State Board of Equalization is reminding Californians this Black Friday weekend that they may owe "use tax" on their online or out-of-state purchases.

Generally, use tax is owed when you buy something from a business – a mail order catalog, an online retailer, a TV shopping network – that's located outside California but doesn't charge you tax.

The average California family owes about $61 in use tax each year, according to the BOE. Those who don't save their receipts can calculate what they owe based on last year's tax return.

For more information:

The state has required payment of use taxes since 1935, an effort to prevent out-of-state retailers from having a competitive advantage over California-based vendors.

According to BOE estimates, the unreported and unpaid use tax costs the state more than $1.1 billion a year.

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