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Old 02-19-2013, 01:40 AM   #1
detayls
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Thumbs up Informit agrees to refund California Sales Tax

I have just formally asked Informit why they have been charging me with California Sales Tax. In California, eBooks bought and transmitted over the internet are NOT subject to Sales Tax.

California is starting to catch on to this whole internet thing.

They responded "Thank you for contacting customer service. We apologize that you were charged sales tax for your eBooks in error. We have credited the sales tax for the following orders:

WEBE167.....
WEBE218.....
WEBE125.....
and so on.

The refund for the sales tax will be applied the credit card used on the order. Please allow up to 10 days for the credit to appear."

This sounds like a good thing so next I asked them:

"Thanks.

I hope this means that ALL the California sales tax charged for eBooks for ALL customers is being refunded."

To which they responded: "Our pleasure. If the customer calls and contacts us, or if in the process of doing our jobs we notice it, it is refunded, however, we don't have the time or resources to dedicate to the task of sorting the orders and creating the refunds.

Please let us know if we may be of further assistance."

I say go and claim your refunds. http://www.informit.com/

Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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You would be surprised at the companies that deliberately or mistakenly collect sales tax they are not entitled to. In Georgia Services are not taxable unless the state legislature passes a separate bill.
I have had quite a few businesses try to collect sales tax on services from me. Filing a complaint with the state does wonders.
People need to pay attention the the tax laws of the state they reside in. Businesses can make millions collecting unauthorized sales tax.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by detayls View Post
To which they responded: "Our pleasure. If the customer calls and contacts us, or if in the process of doing our jobs we notice it, it is refunded, however, we don't have the time or resources to dedicate to the task of sorting the orders and creating the refunds.
They should be forced to sift through their records and provide refunds to everyone they collected taxes from no matter how much it costs them.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
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They should be forced to sift through their records and provide refunds to everyone they collected taxes from no matter how much it costs them.
If they knowingly did this, I agree with you. It should not be on the consumer to right a wrong in that case. I also agree with a previous poster who said consumers should educate themselves on the tax laws of their state. Education is a good thing!
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:25 PM   #5
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People need to pay attention the the tax laws of the state they reside in. Businesses can make millions collecting unauthorized sales tax.
Apache
Surely it's illegal to collect tax that you don't pass on to the tax authorities, is it not?
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
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Surely it's illegal to collect tax that you don't pass on to the tax authorities, is it not?
Does anyone know for sure that they WEREN'T passing it on to the state?
Perhaps they mistakenly thought they needed to, and the state didn't bother to say "you know, you can stop sending us this money....."

I'm not betting on it, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:35 PM   #7
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If they knowingly did this, I agree with you. It should not be on the consumer to right a wrong in that case. I also agree with a previous poster who said consumers should educate themselves on the tax laws of their state. Education is a good thing!
How could they not know what they were doing? Surely, there records would show taxes received and not sent on to a government agency.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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They should be forced to sift through their records and provide refunds to everyone they collected taxes from no matter how much it costs them.
If the Board of Equalization got involved, they would be. However, I'm guessing that they did it out of ignorance, rather than malice, which is to say, they collected it, and then passed it on to the BOE. And it would take a court order to convince the BOE that there's any reason to even investigate, much less actually refund a penny. California BOE doesn't really care if you save human babies as sex toys, so long as you pay them sales tax on it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:27 PM   #9
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Does anyone know for sure that they WEREN'T passing it on to the state?
Perhaps they mistakenly thought they needed to,
California sales tax regulations are . . . complicated, at best. When they tried to tax "junk food," at one point, if you bought one package of Twinkies, they were tabxable, but a full case wasn't. There are some areas where the Board of Equalization has publicly admitted they have no idea what's taxable and what's not.

Electronic goods, however, where no physical object changes hands, have always been non-taxable.

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and the state didn't bother to say "you know, you can stop sending us this money....."
BOE has no way to tell. The form that gets sent in with tax paymenst has a line for "taxable goods," and one for "non-taxable goods," and nothing to indicate what the goods actually are. Nor do they care. The only thing they care about is collecting as much money as they can (though they're very reasonable about it - my web site sold mostly to out-of-state or even out-of-country customers, who are non-taxable, and they never questioned the very high percentage of non-taxable sales). They're very easy to deal with, so long as you don't need questions about what's taxable and what's not answered.

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I'm not betting on it, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.
I suspect you're dead on.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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How could they not know what they were doing? Surely, there records would show taxes received and not sent on to a government agency.
Depends on how much business they do, and how their records are organized (or not, which is the actual problem). It's not always trivial to do a complete audit of all sales. It should be, mind you, especially for a company that probably only exists on computers, but "should be" won't buy you a cup of coffee without a few bucks in cash.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:47 PM   #11
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Surely it's illegal to collect tax that you don't pass on to the tax authorities, is it not?
In California it is. Their technical tern is 'Over Reimbursement'

The fine for Knowingly doing this is $5000 (plus submit all monies collected that are not returned to the customer)
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:04 PM   #12
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There are some areas where the Board of Equalization has publicly admitted they have no idea what's taxable and what's not.
That's hilarious!
In a scary, Frankenstein "what-have-we-created" sort of way.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:18 PM   #13
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In California it is. Their technical tern is 'Over Reimbursement'

The fine for Knowingly doing this is $5000 (plus submit all monies collected that are not returned to the customer)
I suspect it's also illegal to collect sales tax that isn't supposed to be collected, even if you do pass it on. It's just not something anybody but the customer will care about.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:21 PM   #14
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That's hilarious!
In a scary, Frankenstein "what-have-we-created" sort of way.
It's a lot less funny when you're trying to run a business here. Since they will cheefully fine the snot out of you for not following rules they cannot actually document.

(And don't get me started on the environmental crap we have to put up with. We now have to charge what amounts to a depost, like aluminum soft drink cans, on paint cans (except it's not refundable), and there's a "environmental fell" on lumber.)

It's hysterical, however, if you're in another state, trying to recruit businesses to move.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:56 PM   #15
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Surely it's illegal to collect tax that you don't pass on to the tax authorities, is it not?
Yes it is. The stores collect the sales tax on sales. The state relies on you to be truthful when you file your sales tax reports. If the store is dishonest they state would have to audit them to discover the fraud.
The State of Florida charges to different Tallahassee merchants with Sales Tax Fraud in the last two weeks.
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