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Invasion Of The Money Snatchers
Tax hungry in Sacramento...

[by Ray Haynes]
8/29/05

They are everywhere, and they are after you and your neighbors. They want your money, they want your property, and they want to invade your home. They are the money snatchers.

Last week, those money snatchers tried to pass a bill on the Assembly floor which would have allowed them to tax you on your yard sales. Current law requires businesses that engage in retail sales to collect the sales tax on those sales, but exempts "occasional sales" from sales tax liability. If you sell occasionally, you don't have to ask for permission from the government (by getting a seller's permit) to sell. The reason for that rule is that the state really shouldn't require anyone who has a yard sale to get a government permit to sell their old shirts and dirty bird cages. Recently, the Board of Equalization started trying to tax occasional sales by saying you could only have two yard sales a year. That regulation is not consistent with the spirit of the occasional sales exemption in law, so the board wants a law to justify its intrusion. That law is SB 607, introduced by Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) which would allow tax auditors to invade your home if you have three garage or yard sales, or sell three items, which net you $1,200 or more in a year.

Contributor

Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

Talk about intrusive. In essence, tax auditors could be reading Pennysaver magazine, or following those flimsy signs on telephone poles on Saturday morning to find out if you are collecting the sales tax on that box of junk in your garage that you have been trying to get rid of for years. If you sell $1,200 worth of stuff at a yard sale in three different sales, you will have to get a seller's permit, or suffer the wrath of the state. To get a seller's permit, you would have to fill out an eight page form telling the government your social security number, your bank information, the average monthly sales, how much of those sales are nontaxable, keep the records of those sales for four years, file another tax return with the state, and notify the BOE anytime you don't want to have a garage sale anymore.

And what if you don't? You will be invaded by the money snatchers. They will enter your neighborhood in search of those evil yard sale tax cheats. People who want to sell their broken lawnmowers or old refrigerators (or even torn and dirty shirts), would be required to fill out stupid forms every time they sit out in their front yards--or the Tax Gestapo would be after them.

They are insatiable. They cannot invade your life enough, or get enough of your money. They want you to fill out their forms, and disclose the details of your life and finances to them. Anything to get your money is justified, and anything to justify their job is appropriate. Unfortunately, many in the Legislature want to help them in this pursuit.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson noted a number of complaints in the Bill of Particulars detailing the abuses of King George justifying the revolution. Among them: "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." If only Jefferson could see California now. Those swarms of officers, sent to harass us and eat out our substance have become the money snatchers, stopping those evil tax cheat housewives who are trying to make a few extra bucks to feed their families by holding an occasional yard sale to clean out the garage, or get rid of clutter no one wants anymore. Want to know just how bad it has gotten? The evidence is before us – they even want to tax your yard sale. Enough is enough. CRO

Mr. Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside and Temecula and frequent contributor to CaliforniaRepublic.org.

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