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Pa. Pursues Internet Sales Taxes

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - If you're like most people, you probably did a lot of shopping online in 2011. Well, now, it's time to pay the piper (or, in this case, the tax man).

State Revenue Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell says so-called "remote" sellers, who sell by Internet, phone or mail with offices, sales people, delivery trucks or other physical presence in Pennsylvania were supposed to collect sales taxes as of Wednesday, "but we have heard from a number of e-commerce businesses that they are willing to comply with their sales tax obligations, but from a technical and operational standpoint, the February first deadline just wasn't practical." So, that deadline has been extended to September.

Brassell reminds people that, when taxes are not collected on remote sales, it is the purchaser's responsibility to pay what's called "use" tax. And, this year, there will be a line on state income tax forms to declare use tax that is owed.

"It is a voluntary compliance initiative. However, as with any tax, if ever the department comes across information that a liability was not accurately reported, we have the authority to go back and pursue penalties and interest."

Brassell says it's estimated that if everyone complied with the law, Pennsylvania would take in an estimated $380 million dollars more this calendar year.

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