Dell charging tax when there shouldn't be any

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I bought a new Dell computer (http://www.fatwallet.com/t/18/777885/) a couple days ago and was charged a tax. I checked the Dell website and it says no stores exist in Massachusetts. So I chat with customer service and the representative tells me I have to call the tax department. There is no other way.

So I call them up right away at 3PM Eastern. Guess what? The tax department is only open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 12PM central. That isn't a mistake, 4 hours only! So if you have to work during those hours good luck to you.

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Dell probably has a corporate support office in Mass so they have to charge tax. a lot of banks and financial companies ... (more)

teplitsa (Nov. 14, 2007 @ 8:17a) |

I'm not sure but if they are selling thru Wally World does that count as a location in Mass?

Bethlyn184 (Nov. 14, 2007 @ 7:48p) |

I think it's similar to Hawaii. In Hawaii there is a use tax. As long as you use the good in the state, you are suppose... (more)

davidhle (Nov. 15, 2007 @ 5:46a) |

Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.

Some retailers charge state sales tax to everyplace they send stuff to. QVC being one of them.

I have bought a couple things through the Dell website, including some printer ink a couple months ago. I was never charged tax before.

maybe they have a kiosk somewhere

honestabe said: maybe they have a kiosk somewhere
That is what I was trying to find out. But they said I have to call that phone number, which I won't be able to do until Thursday at the earliest.

MASSACHUSETTS USE TAX

Do You Owe Use Tax?

A 5% Massachusetts use tax is due on your taxable purchases from out-of state or out-of-country businesses of tangible personal property for use in Massachusetts on which the Massachusetts sales or use tax on the items has not been paid. The use tax does not apply to out-of-state purchases that are exempt from the sales tax (for example, clothing that costs $175 or less) or food. Generally, anyone who pays a sales or use tax to another state or territory of the United States on tangible personal property to be used in Massachusetts is entitled to a credit against the Massachusetts use tax, up to 5%. This credit is allowed for sales or use tax paid to another state only if that state has a corresponding credit similar to the Massachusetts credit.

Use Tax is Due When:

Goods are purchased for personal use from out-of-state or out-of-country when the sales tax on the items has not been paid. The total purchase price of many imports is subject to "use tax."
Goods are purchased and imported into Massachusetts for personal use, such as jewelry, artwork, antiques, furniture, computers, appliances or household items and sales or use tax has not been paid.
Goods are purchased in another state or country without paying sales tax or the amount paid was lower than Massachusetts' sales tax. The value-added tax (VAT) does not constitute a credit for sales/use tax paid. This includes items shipped, mailed or carried into the state.
Goods are purchased out-of-state or out-of-country from a mail-order catalog, internet company or auction house and sales or use tax has not been paid.
Supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment are purchased from an out-of-state or out-of-country vendor for business use and sales or use tax has not been paid. Machinery and equipment used in manufacturing operations are not included.
Use Tax is Not Due When:

Goods are purchased for resale within the normal course of business.
Goods to be used as an ingredient or component part of an article of tangible personal property produced for sale.
Sales or use tax is paid to another state or territory of the United States on tangible personal property to be used in Massachusetts. A credit of up to 5% is given against the sales tax paid. This credit is allowed for sales or use tax paid to another state only if that state has a corresponding credit similar to the Massachusetts credit.

There are probably a handful of states that Dell does not charge tax to.

On their site, they know they are charging tax in Mass. and show it on the Sales Tax holiday listing.







State Sales Tax Holidays in 2007



In conjunction with the back-to-school shopping season, some states temporarily exempt the tax from computer equipment purchases. As states finalize their guidelines, this posting will be updated.

Note:
Please note that in most states, a sales tax holiday for computer equipment only applies to consumer purchases, in which case a purchase by a business does not qualify for this tax exemption.


Please refer to the state website provided (Table 1) for important additional details, including the following information:

Lists of qualifying (exempt) and non-qualifying (taxable) equipment
Stipulations on determining the dollar limit
FAQs

State Dates Dollar Limit
Alabama
(Some local jurisdictions are not participating) August 3-5, 2007 $750
Georgia August 2-5, 2007 $1500
Louisiana (Applies to 4% state sales tax)
August 3-4, 2007 $2500
Massachusetts (See note below)
August 11-12, 2007 $2500
New Mexico
August 3-5, 2007 $1000
North Carolina August 3-5, 2007 $3500
Tennessee April 27-29, 2007;
August 3-5, 2007 $1500
South Carolina August 3-5, 2007 N/A
Table 1: State Sales Tax Holidays



Note:
Purchasers in Massachusetts only: if your total transaction is $1,000 or more, please fax your Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday Purchaserís Certification of Non-business Use, signed by the purchaser of the exempt item, to 800.433.9023 with your Dell Customer Number noted on the form.

atlanticfisherman said: MASSACHUSETTS USE TAX

[lots of text]

So I was supposed to be charged tax when I wasn't? That is what I think the law says. This is not making any sense. I just bought some books off Amazon last week and was charged no tax there.

Generally YOU are still responsible for tracking and paying tax for items purchased from online vendors in other states that aren't collecting and remitting it to the state.

The state, knowing full well you aren't doing to do this, tries as much as possible to convince companies to automatically collect and remit this tax. Maybe Mass finally got to Dell between your last order and this one?

arkleseizure said: Generally YOU are still responsible for tracking and paying tax for items purchased from online vendors in other states that aren't collecting and remitting it to the state.

The state, knowing full well you aren't doing to do this, tries as much as possible to convince companies to automatically collect and remit this tax. Maybe Mass finally got to Dell between your last order and this one?

Then why do people talk about how great it is to buy stuff online without paying a tax? And why was it Dell only used to collect tax in states where it owned a store? I have always been under the impression that no brick and mortar means no tax. This is very confusing. I seem to recall even news outlets advising that you can buy stuff online to avoid taxes.

BondGamer said: Then why do people talk about how great it is to buy stuff online without paying a tax? And why was it Dell only used to collect tax in states where it owned a store? I have always been under the impression that no brick and mortar means no tax.No B&M in a state means that the retailer is not required to collect sales tax on behalf of that state. If sales tax is not collected, you are still required to pay use tax on your purchase. The compliance rate for use tax is pretty low (except for big-ticket items like cars).

BondGamer said: I seem to recall even news outlets advising that you can buy stuff online to avoid taxes.

And you absolutely can. You, however, are merely doing so against tax law. Doesn't really stop anyone though.

During the Dell purchase process, a user is able to click to see shipping, handling and sales taxes.
That is when the buyer could see that there would be taxes on the purchase.


The Mass Dept of Revenue could have leaned on Dell, and then Dell decided to charge the tax on purchasers.
Mass. probably knew how that it was missing much tax revenue on the Dells being sold. So then to keep life easy on itself,
Dell just turned to collecting taxes since it had to collect sales tax on other states anyway.


There were FW threads on Dell and no tax Dell states back in the famous days of the Dell $750 coupons.
Eventually there were only a handful of states where Dell doesn't collect sales tax.

Plus there are the existing states that have no sales tax like New Hampshire, Oregon, Montana, Delaware, and Alaska.

BondGamer said: I bought a new Dell computer (http://www.fatwallet.com/t/18/777885/) a couple days ago and was charged a tax. I checked the Dell website and it says no stores exist in Massachusetts. So I chat with customer service and the representative tells me I have to call the tax department. There is no other way.

So I call them up right away at 3PM Eastern. Guess what? The tax department is only open Monday through Friday from 8AM to 12PM central. That isn't a mistake, 4 hours only! So if you have to work during those hours good luck to you.
If it means that much to you then stop complaining about why you can't contact them.

Instead, try one of the following:
1. Take a coffee break between 8AM and 12 Noon and CALL them. You do have a cell phone, don't you?
2. If you don't have a cell phone then use a public phone to contact D3LL. Is their tax dept an 800- number? If not contact D3LL CS at their toll free number and have them transfer you.
3. If using the telephone is too inconvenient for you then try emailing CS. Tell them you are unable to call and ask them to forward your email to the tax dept.?

Related story, from last year FWIW.

Was the tax they charged the correct amount for the whole order, or some lesser amount like in the story.

comprx said: Related story, from last year FWIW.


From the story:
"The University of Washington, for example, will be getting a check for $398,000" for their overpaid sales tax.

Why is the University of Washington paying any sales tax at all? Aren't educational institutions of higher learning, let alone a state university, eligible for a sales tax exemption in Washington?

NEDeals said: comprx said: Related story, from last year FWIW.


From the story:
"The University of Washington, for example, will be getting a check for $398,000" for their overpaid sales tax.

Why is the University of Washington paying any sales tax at all? Aren't educational institutions of higher learning, let alone a state university, eligible for a sales tax exemption in Washington?


They should be knowing how to properly make the orders with their tax exemption certificate/ID.
There are Dell links on its site where entities can fax the information to its tax department.

At places like Costco, I see resellers and tax exempt organizations pull out a certificate to not have to pay tax on
their purchases.

arkleseizure said: Generally YOU are still responsible for tracking and paying tax for items purchased from online vendors in other states that aren't collecting and remitting it to the state.

The state, knowing full well you aren't doing to do this, tries as much as possible to convince companies to automatically collect and remit this tax. Maybe Mass finally got to Dell between your last order and this one?


Which is why it's often best to mail order stuff from small places that he states probably won't go after. I expect Amazon, Buy.com, and all the major online retailers do be doing this eventually.

It is good that OP does not live in NY, where the governor is looking to make online retailers charge tax.


As posted by FWer:
http://www.fatwallet.com/t/24/780937/
fwiffo

Cranky Member

Date Posted: Nov/14/2007 6:58 AM
Rating: 0

New Yorkers going Christmas shopping online at Amazon.com will find an 8.375% surprise at the virtual cash register, courtesy of Governor Spitzer, who is moving aggressively to collect Internet sales taxes that have gone widely unenforced. Under a new policy, major electronic retailers, such as Amazon.com, will be required to collect sales tax on all purchases from New York. The policy, based on a novel legal theory, could hasten the end of the Internet's era as a duty-free marketplace if other states follow New York's lead...

I know those efforts have been popping up from time to time, and it looks like it is that time again. Yeah, they have been shut down before, but it only takes one to succeed.

... The seller only needs to collect the tax on purchases in states where the vendor has a physical presence, such as a storefront or salesman. New York is saying that it has found a way around that obstacle to tax collection. Many e-retailers may have unwittingly lost their exemption because of the way they direct traffic to their Web sites, according to a tax memo recently released by the state's tax department.

At issue is the "affiliate program" used by many e-retailers. Web site operators can provide a link to an e-retailer in return for a commission on any sale resulting from customers using the link... New York state says it is the equivalent of having an instate salesperson ... the tax doesn't just apply on sales made through affiliates, but on all sales "so long as they have an affiliate program at all"...

Dell probably has a corporate support office in Mass so they have to charge tax. a lot of banks and financial companies in Boston

I'm not sure but if they are selling thru Wally World does that count as a location in Mass?

I think it's similar to Hawaii. In Hawaii there is a use tax. As long as you use the good in the state, you are supposed to pay use taxes, no matter the seller is in or out-of-state.

However, the state can't enforce it on online sellers that have no store in the state. They are not responsible to collect the use tax for the state. I think some sellers like Dells agree to collect the use tax for some states. I paid tax for my purchases at Dell too.



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