Friday, January 30, 2009

Tax Nightmare

Last year I registered to collect NYS sales tax so that I could sell photos at art & craft fairs. The fairs are not often a money making proposition by the time you subtract the booth fees, travel expense and materials costs. I know crafts people who have spent money and 2-3 days time only to sell less than it cost. The contact with the public and their reaction to your work however can be educational. As long as I break even I figure the input makes it worthwhile. But now I'm beginning to wonder.

At the end of the  last quarter NYS switched to an on-line filing system for sales tax reports. I tried it several times only to be "locked out" and told to try again later. Several subsequent attempts were similarly unsucessful and the papers got set aside in frustration. Finally I did succeed and submitted a report that in the quarter in question I no sales and collected no taxes.

Now I have gotten a notice that because I submitted my report late I owe a $50 penalty and I must also submit proof that the $0 I owe has already been paid or send it with the penalty. If I do that late I can be assessed a $100 penalty. No wonder people think NYS is 'unfriendly to business'.

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