When your tax policy depends on letters like this, it's time to think about whether you need to do things differently.
Wisconsin taxpayers could find themselves digging through more receipts than usual this tax season as the state Department of Revenue makes another effort to collect taxes on out-of-state purchases.
In a letter, the department is asking taxpayers to look through their records from 2007 to 2010 to find any taxes on out-of-state purchases that may have been overlooked and send in payments by Feb. 17.
"The real mission is to help make sure (taxpayers) understand tax law and to remind taxpayers about their responsibility to pay the use tax," said Jennifer Western, executive assistant at the Department of Revenue.
Western also said the goal of the annual letter is to gain more voluntary compliance when it comes to paying sales and use tax. This latest effort comes simultaneously with a modified state income tax return. The new form notes that taxpayers are required to pay tax in cases where sales taxes were not collected at the time of purchase from an online retailer.
States either need to harmonize their sales tax laws or flip the bricks and mortar businesses the bird once and for all. Sending out letters asking taxpayers to make payments on shipments the state can't track of taxes the state can't figure out how to collect isn't exactly a shining example of government efficiency.