Business & Economy

The Deeper Dig: Why the tax man cometh

Kaj Samson, Vermont Department of Taxes
Tax Commissioner Kaj Samson. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

VTDigger reported last week that the Vermont Tax Department was sending about 20,000 letters notifying Vermonters that they may owe sales tax for online and out of state purchases.

The Tax Department has long encouraged Vermonters, in annual income tax filings, to voluntarily pay sales taxes on goods purchased outside the state, but has failed collect as much as officials believe residents owe.

Kaj Samsom, Vermont’s tax commissioner, says that fewer than 25 percent of residents pay a sales tax on what they owe the state. That’s why his department is setting out to “change the culture” around the tax.

Readers quickly responded with a range of questions: When is this tax supposed to apply? How did the department choose who would receive the notices? What personal data are vendors obligated to share with the state under new tax law? In this week’s podcast, Kaj Samsom responds.

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