Last month the New York Department of Taxation threatened to fine some Amish business owners who didn't follow the state's new electronic filing mandate.
Since May 30, the Empire State has required businesses that collect sales taxes to send in the necessary returns and payments electronically. Each e-file failure carries a $50 penalty.
The change has been hard for the state's Amish who eschew modern conveniences, such as telephones and computers. Heck, they aren't even on an electric grid.
When the traditional and tax worlds collided last month, state officials promised to be "judicious" in levying any fines against Amish owners who are trying follow their religious beliefs and also meet their tax obligations.
Now we get Follow-up Friday word that the state is making good on its word.
John Sheeley, an Enrolled Agent in Goshen, N.Y., sent me a copy of the New York Department of Taxation's email notice he recently received on the subject.
The text is below. I've highlighted the relevant section:
Many businesses and tax practitioners used Sales Tax Web File for the first time in June 2011, in response to the recent mandate to web file quarterly returns. Close to 70% of the sales tax returns due on June 20 were filed electronically, a significant increase over 20% one year ago.
Some sales tax vendors and practitioners experienced difficulties filing or reaching a representative to assist them with the new web filing requirements. We apologize for the inconvenience. We're training additional staff to make sure that your calls are answered promptly in the future.
Although we'd prefer that all taxpayers use Sales Tax Web File, we know that some can't. Taxpayers who prepare their own returns without computers or who don't have broadband access aren't required to file online.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail notifications through your online account to receive news about our online services as well as other important messages.
Thanks, John, for the update.
And good for New York tax collectors for respecting other cultures.
But I just have to note my favorite thing about this notice: It was sent via email and it encourages New Yorkers to subscribe electronically so they can stay up to date on tax laws, regulations and other important message.
Surely the state also snail mailed the notice to taxpayers from whom they've received paper filings in the past. If not, here's hoping that someone has already made a face-to-face trip to the Amish business community to let those folks know they are off the mandatory e-file hook.
- One billion federal returns have been e-filed
- Pastors to talk politics in defiance of IRS rules
- State tax departments
Want to tell your friends about this blog post? Check out the buttons -- Tweet, Reblog, Like, Digg This and more -- at the bottom of this post. Or you can use the Share This icon to spread the word via e-mail and other popular online avenues. Thanks!