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Press Releases

Pro Wrestler Kane Challenges Ramsey to Tax Debate

Press release from TN Campaign for Liberty; May 15, 2013:

Knoxville, TN – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is being challenged to a debate on the Internet Sales Tax by professional WWE wrestler and anti-tax activist Glenn Jacobs. In a blog post today Glenn Jacobs (stage name Kane) criticized the Lt. Governor for pushing the Internet sales tax and called for a debate on the topic at the Lt. Governor’s convenience. The blog post can be viewed here: http://www.tnliberty.org/?p=574

“Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey claims that the Internet sales tax mandate is not a new tax. Nor, according to Ramsey, is it an unfair tax. Ramsey is wrong on both counts.” Glenn writes. “ I, therefore, invite Lt. Gov. Ramsey for a policy debate on the issue of the Marketplace Fairness Act in a public forum at his convenience.”

In recent weeks Glenn Jacobs has been appearing in various media outlets advocating against the national Internet sales tax mandate with appearances on nationally syndicated terrestrial radio, satellite radio, and local radio stations in Tennessee. Jacobs has written multiple blog posts and op-ed pieces against the national Internet sales tax mandate.

Earlier this week the TN Campaign for Liberty challenged Lt. Gov Ramsey to show he had paid the obscure TN Use Tax for his online purchases after he called the vast majority of Tennesseans “criminals” for not paying it. That release can be viewed here: https://tnreport.com/2013/05/13/ramsey-questioned-on-use-tax-payments-by-tn-liberty-group/

The national Internet sales tax mandate will likely come up for a vote in the US House of Representatives later this year. The bill is titled “Marketplace Fairness Act” and is being opposed by the Campaign for Liberty, eBay, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, Freedomworks, the Heartland Institute, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and many other conservative figures.

Glenn Jacobs lives with his family in Jefferson City, Tennessee and is a co-founder of the Tennessee Liberty Alliance www.TNLiberty.org. Mr. Jacobs is a critic of big government and a professional wrestler with the WWE.

Glenn Jacobs can be scheduled for an interview by emailing Admin@TNCampaignForLiberty.org

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Press Releases

Ramsey Questioned on Use Tax Payments by TN Liberty Group

Press release from the TN Campaign for Liberty; May 13, 2013:

Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Campaign for Liberty challenges Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey to show he has fully paid the Tennessee Use Tax he owes to the Tennessee government. In a comment given to the Commercial Appeal published on May 9th, 2013 Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey stated “I am very much for the Marketplace Fairness Act…It’s not a new tax. It’s a tax you’re supposed to be paying now and you are breaking the law if you don’t.” referring to the Tennessee use tax as if it were the same thing as the statewide sales tax.

“The vast majority of Tennesseans do not pay the TN Use Tax, most don’t know that it exists or even how to pay it” said Matt Collins, a Coordinator with the TN Campaign for Liberty. “We’re willing to bet that like most Tennesseans, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey hasn’t paid all of the use tax that he owes to the Tennessee government for purchases that his household made online. Can he prove otherwise? If not, then it’s the height of hypocrisy to label people as criminals for not paying the very same tax that he himself avoids. He should show the People of Tennessee his Use Tax receipts.”

Lt. Governor Ramsey’s comments were in regards to attempting to sway the Tennessee Congressional delegation to support his push for the national Internet sales tax mandate. It will likely come up for a vote in the US House of Representatives later this year. The bill is known as the “Marketplace Fairness Act” and is being opposed by the Campaign for Liberty, eBay, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, Freedomworks, the Heartland Institute, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and many other conservative figures.

According to the Tennessee Use Tax website: “If you buy or ship merchandise to your Tennessee address and sales tax is not added to the price, then you are responsible for paying the use tax directly to the TN Department of Revenue….The use tax rate is a combination of the state tax rate of 7% … plus the rate levied by your local government, generally 2.25%. The tax is applied to the purchase price of the merchandise plus any shipping and handling charges that the merchant adds to your bill.”

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NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Taxpayers Voluntarily Forked Over $4.8 Million in Online Sales Taxes

Tennessee revenue officials say they are taking steps to ensure the public understands they’re supposed to be paying sales taxes when they shop online, although very few taxpayers do it.

Last year, the state collected $4.8 million in use taxes voluntarily paid. Economists suggest in the same period, the state was owed more than $300 million by its citizens.

After months of controversy about whether to allow Amazon.com to slide on playing tax-collector for the government in exchange for creating new jobs, Gov. Bill Haslam found a compromise. The state plans to let Amazon off the hook for sales tax collections until 2014, or until the federal government comes up with a national plan.

The governor has rejected suggestions that Amazon’s tax collections in two years will have the same effect as a tax increase on the people of Tennessee. Lawmakers have as well.

“I do not see this as a tax increase at all. They’re paying the taxes that, in my opinion, they owed anyway,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey told reporters earlier this month.

Last fiscal year the state collected just over 3,000 consumer tax returns with an average of $1,500 in money to cover their tax on online purchases.

TNReport traded emails this week with Linda Kelley, the director of taxpayer and vehicle services in the Tennessee Department of Revenue, about the rules behind online sales tax collections.

TNReport: Is it illegal for customers to skip out on paying sales taxes on online purchases when the seller, such as Amazon.com, doesn’t collect the taxes?

KELLEY: When someone buys merchandise online or through a catalog, and the seller of the merchandise does not collect sales tax, the consumer who purchased the item has a legal obligation to file and pay use tax on the merchandise. This generally occurs when a user purchases articles from an out-of-state dealer not registered for Tennessee tax. This use tax has been on the books since 1947 and is the same rate as the sales tax. (Tennessee Code Annotated Section 67-6-203). The Department of Revenue’s Sales & Use Tax Guide provides additional information on “Who is Liable for Use Tax” on Page 9.

TNReport: How much did the state lose this year in online sales tax collections?

KELLEY: It is not possible for us to answer this question because the data is simply not available.

TNReport: How many people actually do pay their online sales taxes to online retailers? And how much did they pay last budget year?

KELLEY: During fiscal year 2011, 3,041 consumer use tax returns were filed with the Department. These taxpayers voluntarily remitted a total of $4,783,583 for the period.

TNReport: When do they pay the tax?

KELLEY: Depending on the frequency of purchases, consumers must file the use tax return and pay the taxes either monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually. The return is due on the 20th of the month following the close of the applicable period. Consumers can e-file their consumer use tax via Revenue’s Web site at http://www.state.tn.us/revenue/onlinefiling/salesanduse/salestaxefile.htm.

TNReport: What is the penalty for individual taxpayers for not paying the tax on internet purchases?

KELLEY: There is a range of penalties imposed, depending on the specific circumstances. Taxpayers who are delinquent in paying the tax are charged a penalty of anywhere from 5 percent to 25 percent plus interest, depending on the length of time they have been delinquent. If the failure to pay taxes is determined to be due to negligence, the taxpayer would face a penalty in the amount of 10 percent of the tax due along with interest. If a failure to pay taxes is determined to be due to fraud, the taxpayer would receive a 100 percent penalty along with the interest due.