A Blog by Sylvia F. Dion

The State & Local Tax (SALT) Daily: Top Stories for the Week Ending July 20, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I expanded my publishing responsibilities by creating two on-line newsletters, The State & Local Tax (SALT) Daily and The Internet Sales Tax Weekly.  Both newsletters are curated on the Paper.li platform, a popular on-line newsletter curation service. The SALT Daily is published each day and The Internet Sales Tax Weekly is published every Friday.  (By the way, you can view the current edition of both papers by clicking on the newsletter titles above or the Paper.li widgets I’ve embedded into the lower left side bar of this blog page.) 
In addition to tweeting out the arrival of each newsletter (I’ll send out a tweet from my @SylviaDionCPA account), every weekend I’ll blog about the most popular topics/stories curated the prior week.  So, on that note, here is recap of the top topics/stories covered in The SALT Daily editions from the week ending Saturday, July 20, 2013.
If I had to pick one SALT topic that was the focus of many articles appearing in The SALT Daily this past week; it would have to be “sales tax holidays”.  As many of you may know, over the next few weeks, many states will be holding their annual sales tax holidays which will allow shoppers in those states to purchase back-to-school goods “tax-free”. One of the best sales tax holidays articles curated this past week was this one by one of my favorite tax bloggers, Kelly Phillips Erb: Get Ready To Shop: State Sales Tax Holidays Are Back!, Forbes.com, 7/17/13.  Although many of the sales tax holiday articles that hit the news wires this week simply listed which states will be offering a tax-free weekend and their respective dates, Kelly’s article provides a nice summary for each state on what types of items qualify for the sales tax holiday and dollar thresholds.  Other sales tax holiday articles headlining in The SALT Daily included these: Retailers poised for good grades on back-to-school sales, CNBC, 7/11/13; Tax-free weekends coming this summer, MSN Living, 7/18/13.
In addition to the several news reports announcing and/or recapping sales tax holidays, The SALT Daily also included stories on whether sales tax holidays are good state tax policy.  For instance, the headline story in the July 15th edition of The SALT Dailywas this report: States Expand Sales Tax Holidays Beyond Back-to-School Items, Stateline, 7/10/13.  As the report points out, many states are expanding the sales tax holiday to include more than just traditional school supplies.  For instance, Louisiana’s sales tax holiday will allow all purchases up to $2,500 to be tax exempt.  But the report also points out that, “The expansion has heightened worries that the tax holidays are a drain on state treasuries. Opponents, including many economists, decry the holidays as unproductive or regressive. Despite that, many state legislators are happy to promote them.
Another popular SALT topic this past week focused on the connection between immigration reform and projected SALT revenues.  A popular article cited often was this one: Immigration Reform Expected to Increase State Tax Revenues $2 Billion, AccountingToday, 7/10/13. The article discusses how a recent study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that states and local tax revenues would increase by an additional $2 billion if undocumented immigrants who are currently in the U.S. are allowed to work legally.  The study, published in the Institute’s report, Undocumented Immigrants’State and Local Tax Contributions, is based on an assumption that a newly legalized immigrant population of 11.2 million would fully participate in the federal, state and local tax systems.  The report also shows the Institute’s increase in revenue estimate by state.
Here’s another topic that was popular this past week – New Jersey’s significant delay in processing tax refund payments. This article, Herald News: Refund wait too long for state tax filers, New Jersey.com, 7/14/13, was one of many reporting on how millions of New Jersey residents were still awaiting their New Jersey tax refunds, which Treasury officials blamed on a computer glitch. Governor Christie, himself, acknowledged the issue and apologized for the difficulties on his monthly show.  Despite the promise that all refunds should be issued by the end of August, as reported in this article, Democrat Senator calls for hearings on tax refund delays, New Jersey Star Ledger, 7/15/13, some legislators have found the refund delays to be unacceptable and want answers.
So, again this simply a recap of a few of the most popular topics reported on in various articles which appeared in an edition of The SALT Daily.  There were many, more more articles on SALT issues and developments curated in The SALT Daily this past week, covering many states. 

You can see each day’s edition by following my tweets on @SylviaDionCPA, clicking the embedded widget on the lower left side of this blog, or by simply subscribing to The SALT Daily directly from the newsletter.
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