States may be getting tougher on sales tax delinquents as the pandemic drags on and tax revenues, in many places, take hits. Just ask Fiorella’s Landscaping in western New York.

The Buffalo, N.Y.-area company must pay back more than $95,000 after pocketing sales tax money owed to the state, according to authorities. The company has paid nearly $69,000 in restitution for sales tax it collected and failed to pay to state coffers between June 2011 and December 2015. The case was referred to investigators after an auditor found that the business hadn’t filed quarterly sales tax returns or remitted sales tax collected for that period.

In another case, Ohio AG Dave Yost is trying to crack down on online retailers of beer and wine with a recent injunction in federal court this week. He is trying to prevent several online retailers from bypassing the state’s licensed retailers and avoiding Ohio alcohol taxes. Opponents say the attorney general is grandstanding – and customers told news outlets that online offers a greater variety of products and more safety in shopping as COVID rages.

Other recent sales tax updates you should be aware of:

Florida lawmakers are warming to an online sales tax as the pandemic both hammers Tallahassee’s tax revenue and drives more shoppers to the internet. The state – one of only two with a sales tax that don’t require remote sellers  to collect and remit those taxes – is looking at a $2.7 billion budget shortfall. Nothing has changed yet, but one can expect that Florida may change their tune over the next year.

Maryland lawmakers might soon revive a proposal to expand the state’s sales tax to sales of digital products, both downloads and streaming.

Massachusetts, one of the many states with revenue potentially slammed by COVID shutdowns, is reportedly looking for quicker remittance of taxes owed. The governor recently introduced a budget for the state’s next fiscal year that includes a plan to require businesses to remit sales tax faster. This is the third time the state has pushed for faster tax remittance since 2015, reports added, and similar proposals have been seen in Connecticut, Nebraska, New York and Puerto Rico.

Pennsylvania collected $2.6 billion in General Fund revenue in October – $365.6 million more than anticipated – with sales taxes among the leading tax categories, according to state tax authorities.

If you think your business may be impacted by this year's sales tax developments, contact TaxConnex. TaxConnex provides services to become your outsourced sales tax department. Get in touch to learn more.

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Robert Dumas

Written by Robert Dumas

Accountant, consultant and entrepreneur, Robert Dumas began his public accounting career on the tax staff at Arthur Young & Co., followed by a brief stint at Grant Thornton. In 1998, Robert founded Tax Partners, which became the largest sales tax compliance service bureau in the country, and later sold it to Thomson Corporation. Robert founded TaxConnex in 2011 on the principle that the sales tax industry needed more than automation to truly help clients, thus building within TaxConnex a proprietary platform and network of sales tax experts to truly take sales tax off client’s plates.