Note, ordering online from B&H may be cheaper!

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by fuccisphotos, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. So I didn't see the post back to my question about buying memory until I got back to Virginia, and I see someone pointing out that I could have saved $200 by buying the camera online rather than in store and paying NYC taxes. I wanted to make sure it got into my possession in the safest possible way, and they did get me a much better screen protector than I was going to originally buy, but man, I feel so dumb now! I didn't think that they wouldn't have taxes that way! So future buyers who aren't in NY state, be aware of this, and save yourself some dinero. Although seeing B&H in person is one incredible experience I must say. An absolute perfect picture of efficiency! Almost what I'd picture santa's workshop to be like ;)
     
  2. Have you accounted for the sales tax that out of state buyers are often required to pay to their own states?
     
  3. Be aware that your own state still requires you to pay the use tax. Thus if you want to brag about sales tax evasion; smuggling cigarettes; selling drugs; speeding it all works until one is caught. Then the "savings" come back to haunt you with an audit; fines; penalites. About everybody evades sales taxes like this; to brag about tax evasion on a public forum is totally insane. You really must like audits?
    I got audited for this in California; you get hit for that sales tax you skirted; plus the penality on each infraction; plus the interest on both; no matter how far back they want to dig into your hide.
    Your ignorance of tax law does not matter; nor if a business or a private amateur buy. The states are broke; thus tax evasion is a way they gain back lost unpaid taxes.

    The auditors are a dry lot; once they find an infraction; they turn over more stuff. This area is active in many states; it has been on most books for about 80 years now
    Whether one gets caught depends on luck and keeping a low profile too. Bragging about tax evasion is strange at best.
     
  4. A Friend has this chain restaurant in Calif. They buy the logo-ed chain's paper trayliners; cups; paper bags; straws.
    The vendor was in Calif for years; then the chain/corporate got another supplier that was not in Calif.
    My friend just paid the bills as usual; for the logo-ed; cups; paper bags etc.
    When they got audited; it turns out they were not paying the California sales taxes on the consumables from the new supplier; thus they got hit with all the back sales taxes; penalities and interest on all.
    http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=salesusetax
    "The use tax applies to the use, consumption or storage of tangible personal property in Virginia when the Virginia sales or use tax was not paid at the time of purchase. The use tax is computed on the cost price of the property, which is the total amount for which the property was purchased, including any services that are a part of the purchase, valued in money or otherwise, and includes any amount for which credit is given the purchaser or lessee by the seller."
     
  5. So if my Sandisk 8GB CF card from Amazon is smuggled into CA from Fernley NV should I run right down to local Federal Building and surrender? LOL.
     
  6. I had to pay use tax in California on items I bought in Hong Kong, FGS. That stupid, stinking tax also applies on items purchased elsewhere -wherever. I hate it. I got home from a great trip with some beautiful shoes and got a giant bill from the state, because I'd come home through San Francisco and the customs computer talked to the state's tax computer. So unpleasant!
     
  7. I pay the PA use tax on my B&H purchases and, considering the NYC and State sales tax rates, I'm still saving money over buying face-to-face.
     
  8. Paying the use tax is still a heck of a lot cheaper than getting audited and have to pay back taxes, interest, fees etc!
     
  9. A few years back, when I first considered generating a little income from this hobby, and in large part from information gathered from pnet, the first thing I did was register with the state. A few months later I casually shot a friend's son's football team. Turns out one of the parents looking to buy photos is a senior auditor for the state department of revenue. Fortunately all my dots and crosses were in order. You never know who's going to find you where.
     
  10. B&H has been providing good quality services to pros in the field for many years at very reasonable prices. Simply looking for "cheaper prices" online can create lots of problems depending on who you are dealing with, especially with gray market products. B&H's reputation and support in the field (with PPA, WPPI, etc...) has been solid over the past two decades.
     
  11. Ok, so this is obviously something I need to learn about, that my father-in-law who is a CPA didn't mention to me. I want VERY MUCH to be up to the letter of the law with everything. I don't like when people do things under the table and don't pay taxes. I just thought it was a loophole I had missed out on. But if it means I would have had to pay taxes in my state afterwards, it would be good to know for any other online purchases I make. I have bought my memory cards and hard drives from Amazon. Knowing these purchases are tax deductible, I figured they'd all be declared. Do I need to figure in some type of back tax I will need to pay to the state? Obviously asking an accountant is the smartest thing to do, but if you are aware of something like this that is the standard, please let me know. I wondered how it could possibly be legal to not charge sales tax.
    Also, how about your print sales online through things like Zenfolio? Any considerations here that I should be aware of?
     
  12. Vail, check the Zenfolio fine print. I use a different online ordering service that claims a single-use license for providing prints to my clients. I'm not comfortable with the arrangement. It feels a little grey to me, if not downright shady. Plus, it opens up my clients to the same use tax pitfall. So, I've been moving increasingly toward self-fulfillment on my print and product lines.
     
  13. Vail:

    You should absolutely talk to a CPA. But, here's how it works in very general terms. If your state has sale tax, it most like have a use tax. The use tax is the responsibility of the consumer when sale tax wasn't collected on the original transaction - like on an on-line sale. I'm no CPA that's for sure and rules and regs vary like crazy. Companies collect sale tax on in-state sales and on sales to states where they have "nexus", often meaning a presence. If B&H had a store in CA they would need to collect sale tax on sales made in/to CA even if the product was shipped from B&H in NYC.

    As consumers we - who live in states that have sale/use tax - are responsible for this use tax on all purchases where the sale tax isn't collected, unless we're exempt from sale tax (very few persons and/or entities are). Now I don't for a second believe that Connie Consumer will pay use tax on the $50 worth of books she buys from Amazon every year. Then again, statistically Connie Consumer probably is at a smaller risk of getting audited compared to people like you and me running small businesses. As I said, I'm no CPA but my wife works for our state department of revenue - sale tax division. Guess who has to make sure he gets all this stuff right! Just my luck too. As a kid I had my aunt and my uncle as my teachers from grade 1 through 6 (Sweden) - guess who never ever missed even one homework assignment...
     
  14. B&H collects NYC sales tax if you buy in our store and take your merchandise with you. We collect NY sales tax (at the destination's rate) for any order shipped to an address inside NY state. We do not collect sales tax on any order shipped out of NY state.
    As others have noted though, you may well be liable for your state's Use tax. Most states have a line for this on your state income tax form. When you sign that form you do so under penalty of perjury and if they catch you, you're subject to prosecution and certainly subject to the tax plus interest and penalty. YMMV.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  15. Thank you Henry. I did buy my 5DmarkII at your amazing superstore in NYC. I really appreciate everyone letting me know all this. I will definitely talk to my accountant. While taxes are annoying, are very important. ;)
     
  16. In California; they caught me on my Sony 450 buck shortwave I bought in Singapore; they audit those LAX customs forms; this was 20 years ago. There was about 700 bucks worth of stuff taht I had to pay the California 8.5 percent tax; plus penality; plus interest on both 3 years later.
     
  17. What brought me here is the title "
    ordering online from B&H may be cheaper "

    Well, it is not cheaper but safer and more pleasant, b&h on line ordering is so well organized comparing it to others on line traders.
    I am a regular customer of b&h and never faed any problem with them plus their chat channel is another credit where most of the matters can be sorted out in a superb manner.
    I will always go for b&h with my orders.
     
  18. As I understand it, if a company has any physical point of presence in a state, such as a warehouse or office, they are required to collect taxes for shipments to goods in that state. States and brick and mortar have been crying about lost revenue for some time, and in the last 2-3 years there have been attempts to get congress to change the laws to force out of state sellers to charge the appropriate taxes. I suspect sooner or later, congress will give in.
    Of course the law of unintended consequences will kick in, and it may push more budget sales over to outside the USA vendors.
     
  19. Michael:

    You're right, but if the store doesn't have any physical point of presence in your state it falls on you the consumer to submit the sale/use tax. If a sale to you from out of state would have generated $50 to your state if the purchase was made in your city, you the consumer need to send the $50 to the state come tax time.

    Obviously not all consumers do this and this leads to lost revenue for the states. There has been talks about a streamlined internet sale tax for ages now. To a layman it'd be pretty simple. Tax all sales on-line at a flat, say 5%, and remit to a central agency that then doles it out to the states. It would be easy for the retailers because there would only be that 5% to keep track of for each sale regardless of where in the US the customer is. So, naturally this is unlikely to happen. Instead we're bound to get some system that is uber-complicated with a bunch of different rates not only depending on the product sold but also on the geographical location of the customer...
     
  20. Mikael Karlsson:
    I don't see a flat internet sales tax coming, without getting all states to enact a flat sales tax coming across the board. That just will not happen (IMHO).
    The big retailers based off of brick and mortar national chains already have to calculate this tax, so it is not that complicated. I would imagine there are already programs for sale in the B2B world that calculate these taxes based on shipping address that the smaller companies could buy or potentially some sort of service bureau.
    Obviously the law of unintended consequences will rear its ugly head, and if too much retail traffic is diverted to overseas merchants, there likely will be more of a crackdown for all of those cheap ebay trinkets who label each purchase as gift to avoid paying import taxes.
     
  21. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    Ordering on-line can indeed be cheaper, irrespective of sales tax. Last week I bought a Canon S90 from B&H. Even though I paid for overnight shipping, the total cost was $33 less than I could find locally. I will pay the California use tax in January, when I file the return for my photography sales.
    I rather suspect that the business-friendly Roberts (Supreme) Court will end up allowing states to tax out-of-state Internet sales regardless of "physical presence." This will cause little difficulty for large corporations that can afford to comply with all the requirements of every state, county, city, and mosquito abatement district in the country. But it will put people like me out of business, as there's no way I can afford to comply with tax regulations in a state from which I might get one sale in a lifetime. Somehow I don't think the Supreme Court's conservative majority would see that as a problem.
     

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