Smoker gets hit with $8,000 tax bill
#1
State sends a message, smoker gets $8,000 bill By Ralph Thomas
Seattle Times Olympia bureau
OLYMPIA -- Scott Adams figured he was saving about $20 per carton the past few years by ordering his cigarettes online and by phone from out-of-state tobacco dealers.
Those savings are proving mighty costly now.
The state claims Adams owes nearly $8,000 in unpaid cigarette taxes and penalties. After hounding him for more than a year, the state last week began garnisheeing 25 percent of Adams' wages.
Adams says he blew off the numerous warnings and tax statements he received in the mail, figuring the state was just trying to intimidate him and didn't really have the authority to force him to pay.
"I'm both angry and maybe a little ashamed that I didn't talk to them," said Adams, 41, a pack-a-day-plus smoker who lives in Seattle. "But I didn't think they were going to push it this far for something as trivial as cigarette taxes. ... It's going to take me years to pay this off."
The state, however, says there's nothing trivial about unpaid cigarette taxes. As many as a quarter of all cigarettes smoked in Washington state are smuggled in from out of state or purchased tax-free online, by phone or by mail from vendors.
Contraband cigarettes cost the state an estimated $200 million a year in lost revenue.
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#2
What's unfortunate for the taxpayer here is just that it took government so long to bring down the hammer on him, and so the taxes plus penalty and interest have added up to quite a large sum.  People buying things on-line from out of state is a huge loss of revenue to the states, and cuts into their ability to provide vital services.  So I'd support giving the guy a payment plan,  but I'm not sympathetic as it was clearly his intent to evade the tax, as evidenced by his admission that he "blew off" the notices he got.
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#3
Sin taxes are notoriously regressive. This is a travesty.
S.A.G. ~ Kathy ~ Sanguine-choleric. Have fun...or else.

Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi, quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
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#4
This is ridiculous. The government shouldn't ask for so much tax money, which is what makes it perfectly OK to buy things from out of state and pay no tax. In fact, I was under the opinion that this was totally legal... that if you buy something online, you simply don't pay sales tax for it. Or perhaps interstate taxes are only enforced for cigarettes and tobacco?
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#5
He had an opportunity to appeal.  When he threw away the notices without responding to them, he waived his opportunity. 
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#6
Crikey! If I smoked, I'd quit right now just to keep the government from making money off my addictions!
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#7
Rosamund Wrote:Crikey! If I smoked, I'd quit right now just to keep the government from making money off my addictions!

I smoke, and the goverment should quit making money off of me anyway. US citizens are nothing more than glorified slaves. Too bad I can't just stop making money - that way they'll really stop making money off of me.
 
Hmmm..a lovely thought. Wonder what would happen if every last person in the US stopped making money for a whole month?
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#8
This is why I make my own.

I buy tubes (like filtered cigarettes, but empty. A penny each.)
and tobacco (tons of blends to choose from, all taste better than store-bought brands, and all cost much less)
and I have a little gadget ($7.50) to stuff the tobacco into the tubes.

Cost: About $1.09 per pack, and it's perfectly legal. (Could be as low as 65¢ per pack, but the brand I like costs a little more.)

The taxes I'm not paying are on finished cigarettes, not on loose tobacco.

Want more info? Check out www.ryomagazine.com

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#9
That's what I do, too. I use American Spirit tobacco.
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#10
Mm, can't remember if I've tried that one or not. Who sells it?

I find in the last 3 or so months, I just keep re-ordering Ramback Gold and Bali Red. Yum!

But that's what's so great about it- even the most expensive tobacco you can find is still way cheaper than store brands, and the cheapest tobacco tastes as good or better (than store brands). And it's pure tobacco, no floor sweepings. You just can't lose.

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