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State tax collectors going to extremes

How tough is it financially for states? Some tax collectors are going to what many say are extremes to bulk up their treasuries.

Take New Jersey. The state wanted to tax the value of unused gift cards. And you thought that issuers charging monthly fees on the pieces of plastic was bad.

The law was passed a couple of years ago, but retailers sued -- and some, including American Express, pulled out of New Jersey -- so the law was put on hold.

And now it looks like the state's troubled gift card tax could be on the way out.

Still, the Garden State's effort was a widely watched way that states are looking for more revenue. But it's not the last, or most unusual, state tax collection effort.

Up in Vermont, tax collectors tried to collect restaurant sales taxes on meals served at eldercare facilities' dining halls.

The Green Mountain State's effort, now abandoned, is just one of the many ways that lots of state taxmen are getting aggressive.

Bankrate Taxes Blog icon That trend, as well as how some wealthy folks were able to avoid paying federal income taxes, were topics covered last week at my other tax blog.

The regular roundup from my Bankrate Taxes Blog usually goes up here on the ol' blog on Saturday evenings. I wish I could say I was having too much fun last night to post, but the truth is I was distracted by sports programming and then too bummed to do anything since my teams lost.

But better late than never, right?!

You can check out new tax posts on Bankrate each Tuesday and Thursday. And if you happen to miss them on those days, you can find a wrap-up here, usually on the following Saturday … unless I'm running a bit slow for whatever reason!

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