Unpaid cigarette taxes from Internet sales put residents on tax lien lists

You might think that those who appear on the state’s latest list of delinquent tax payers for non-payment of a cigarette tax own a convenience store or some other retail operation.

And in some cases that’s true.

In Pennsylvania, the largest tax lien issued in connection with non-payment of cigarette tax is on the Putignano Candy and Cigar Co. in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County. The state list indicates the company owes a total of $46,347.43 related to the non-payment, which also likely includes penalties and interest.

Victoria Houser of Spring City is listed on the latest tax lien delinquent list as owing $16,243.62 in connection with non-payment of this tax. Hers is the sixth highest amount owed in Pennsylvania in connection with non-payment of cigarette taxes, as well as the highest in the tri-county area.

But it is not always a business that owes that tax. Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue said in some cases, the tax is owed by individuals who buy cigarettes on the Internet. Although they are not charged state taxes on those sales, those who sell and ship the cigarettes are required by law to inform the state to which they are shipped. At that point, the individual purchasers become responsible for the tax payment.

Jennifer Kier of Collegeville, who is on the list for owing $8,846.88, the second highest amount in the tri-county area, is there for taxes owed on cigarettes ordered over the Internet, Brassell confirmed.

Also on that list is Nancy Wayman of Schwenksville who, according to the state lists, owes $6,429.05 in connection with non-payment of cigarette taxes, and Horace Orner of Phoenixville who owes $5,130.31 for the same reason.

Revenue from cigarette taxes is currently dedicated to two particular programs. The first is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provides health insurance to uninsured children and teens.

Annual cigarette tax revenue generates $30.73 million for this program.

Cigarette taxes also generate $20.49 million annually for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund, which helps preserve Pennsylvania farmland.

source: pottsmerc.com

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