Tax Fraud

It seems lately that the US Postal Service exists only to deliver tons of junk mail. This type of mail often advertises by targeting specific groups of people and if I get one more packet to join AARP….

I often respond to unwanted credit card offers by stuffing all the material back in the postpaid envelope and returning it to sender. I justify this action by thinking it helps keep postal workers employed.

Nothing angers me more than a local company flagrantly violating the Tax Law by advertising  Pay No Sales Tax  to promote their products as did Ruby & Quiri, at 307 North Comrie Ave., Johnstown, NY 12095, who describe themselves as being, Your Complete Home Furnishings Super Center.

Today I received  two advertisements for this same tax-free sale from Ruby & Quiri, one on the front cover of  Amsterdam Monthly Magazine, published by Sacandaga Advertusing LLCand another printed on a separate insert flyer.

The ad states Pay No Sales Tax* on all American made furniture and select clearance items. There is an asterisk after the word Tax that refers you to the small print at the bottom of the page  which reads *Discount equivalent to the cost of sales tax is applied at the time of purchase. However this disclaimer does not compensate for the fact that the advertiser is illegally refunding sales tax to sell a product, as illustrated in the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Publication 34 Sales Tax Advertising Issues.

An increasing number of merchants across the state have been running advertising campaigns that are in violation of the New York State Sales and Use Tax Law. Advertisements that offer to pay all or part of a customer’s sales tax liability, or to refund all or part of the sales tax, or to extend or expand a limited sales tax exemption to other products or time periods, are examples of improper advertisements. These violations could result in additional sales tax being owed by the business or its customers.

New York State Tax Law requires that a vendor must collect sales tax from the customer when collecting the selling price of any taxable item or service. It is illegal for a vendor to advertise or represent to the public in any manner, directly or indirectly, that tax is not considered as an element in the price to be paid by the customer. Therefore, advertisements stating that the customer will not be charged the tax, that the vendor will pay the tax for the customer, or that the tax will be refunded to the customer or applied as a credit against the customer’s bill, account, or future purchases, are prohibited.

In addition, though it is not illegal to advertise or promote sales tax-free periods on sales as provided by the Tax Law, you may not make up your own tax-free periods or exempt items.

I hope Ruby & Quiri as well as Amsterdam Monthly Magazine stop this illegal and deceptive advertising practice.

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12 thoughts on “Tax Fraud

  1. So there is an astericks next to the words “Pay No Sales Tax” and a disclaimer that says discount equal to the amount of sales tax. And the problem is what? Tax is still being paid, and I’m getting the amount of the tax deducted off of the price of the merchandise. I fail to see your gripe.

    • Where do you see that tax is still being paid? This may place tax liability on the purchaser of the furniture to pay on their own. Tax free periods are regulated and designated by State government, not individual merchants. It is an illegal practice whether you agree with it or not.

  2. Gerald, They are not “not paying the sales tax” they are discounting the same amount. As long as they pay the sales tax they are not doing anything illegal. As far as the tax liability being placed on the purchaser – The purchaser receives a receipt with the sales tax being listed as to what they paid. As far as Sacandaga Advertising doing something illegal and using deceptive advertising. It is up to the business to hold up their end of what they are promoting not Sacandaga Advertising. That is slander. Be careful.

    • Dave, maybe you didn’t read the linked publication from NYS Tax and Finance. The quoted section of my post are not my words, they are taken from that publication which is very clear about what is or is not a violation of the NYS Tax Law. It even lists examples. Advertisements that state “Pay No Sales Tax” are in violation of this law. Also, there is nothing in either of these advertisements stating that sales tax will be collected or paid by the customer or the vendor.
      From the NYSDTF Publication 34:

      “Example of acceptable advertising:

      A merchant holds a week long sale, advertising that he is offering an
      8% discount. Although this discount is equal to the sales tax rate
      imposed in the merchant’s locality, the advertisement does not
      suggest or imply that the tax is not being charged.
      This type of advertising is acceptable.

      Examples of prohibited advertising:

      A merchant holds a one-week “tax free” sale on sales of electronic
      equipment.
      A merchant offers to pay the sales tax for customers on their
      purchases of furniture during a holiday weekend.
      These types of advertising are prohibited.”

      Bringing this issue to the attention of Sacandaga Advertising as I did in private correspondance was for your benefit. There is nothing slanderous about pointing out a clear violation of the NYS sales tax law and making the public aware of deceptive practices in advertising.

  3. Your quote above on this not so private message….I hope Ruby & Quiri as well as Amsterdam Monthly Magazine stop this illegal and deceptive advertising practice.

    Bringing this issue to the attention of Sacandaga Advertising as I did in private correspondance was for your benefit. THIS IS NOT PRIVATE.

    • Dave, as the publisher of Amsterdam Monthly Magazine, you must feel some responsibility to the people who read these ads. I know you have certain basic standards for advertisers who pay for these ads. All I am asking is that you add this to the list of prohibited ad types as New York State Sales and Use Tax Law dictates.

      The word “private” was a poor choice on my part, I should have stated separate correspondance as I used the contact page on your website to notify you of this issue.

  4. Robbie

    Just a note about postal workers and the downsizing going on at the USPS. They have to get with the times and be more competitive. I hate going to the Post Office for anything and would rather pay a small fee to a company like Stamps.com to print my postage at home. If the USPS allowed its customers to do this from their website instead of only allowing the higher priced postage for printing, they would make more money on poastage (especially if they did it all for free). I would ditch another company and go with USPS for all my service and postage needs if they offered that as a non fee service. Instead of this they are trying to keep things the way they are which is a socialst government program to begin with. Now they wonder why they are failing?

    • Totally disagree. There is nothing socialistic about the government running the postal service anymore than it is socialistic for the government to run the military. See what happens if the USPS is farmed out to private corporations. They will only deliver to where it is profitable and many people in rural areas and poor areas will have a difficult time sending and receiving packages and mail. And if they do, they will do it at a higher cost than the USPS.

      I ship out 1000 packages per year through the post office in Amsterdam. They have only lost a couple packages in 18 years. And I have done the research, no one does it cheaper than the USPS. By the way, the USPS will pick up packages at your house and the nearest post office is a lot closer than the nearest UPS or FedEx office.

  5. I also don’t consider our magazines JUNK MAIL. We work very hard to provide a FREE quality magazine for local residents to read about LOCAL BUSINESSES and give you their offers. I understand your right to voice your concerns about a business and their advertising. But to link Sacandaga Advertising with that is unfair.

    • I’m sure you don’t consider it junk mail, as it provides you with an income. Thank you for understanding my right to an opinion. I have read your opinion placed in your unsolicited “advertising mail” over the years and have not always agreed with it, but respect your right to express it.

      I don’t believe it is unfair of me to associate Ruby & Quiri’s deceptive and prohibited ad with Sacandaga Advertising. You solicited the ad, placed it on the cover of your publication and mailed it to me. But then again, maybe you didn’t realize there was anything wrong with the ad.

      Now you do.

    • I agree that the Amsterdam Magazine is NOT junk mail. I look through it from cover to cover every issue. Junk mail I tear up without opening or I do what Jerry does. I put it in the Business Reply Envelope and mail it back.

  6. “I often respond to unwanted credit card offers by stuffing all the material back in the postpaid envelope and returning it to sender. I justify this action by thinking it helps keep postal workers employed.” LOL

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