The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

April 21, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Monday, April 21, 2014

How do we know which laws are ‘real’?

Call me gullible. I track and pay the West Virginia Purchaser’s Use Tax. With only days to the deadline, I had yet to file my return. This is because of the HOURS involved in preparation. The Use Tax has taken many of these hours of my life.

The West Virginia Use Tax is law. EVERY West Virginian must track all out-of-state purchases from Internet and physical stores, compare the sales taxes in those states to West Virginia sales tax, and pay the difference. This means per item accounting on every receipt, and living with an oppressive poorly written code almost daily.

After my previous letter, and others on this subject, I heard very interesting conversation. Disbelief from those unaware of the tax, and laughter from those who were. The universal refrain, even from the Tax Department, was, “Nobody pays this.” My question: “Does EVERYBODY know that?” I didn’t, and how would we? It is a line on the IT-140 WV personal tax form.

How do we know which laws are the real ones? How does this work? For example, a policeman pulls me over and says, “License and registration, ma’am.” Can I say, “No, officer, I’m taking a pass on this one”? Or, if I get a letter from the IRS, can I pull a card from the Lois Lerner playbook, and say, “I’ll get back to you if I feel like it, maybe in a couple years”?

Another writer challenged the West Virginia Legislature to repeal the Use Tax this year or make public their tax records. I’m renewing that for the inevitable special session, and adding another. If you guys are not going to repeal, please publish a list of the laws that must be followed, and which are optional. Income Tax real? Use Tax not real? I guess, but how do we know?

“I’m sorry, your Honor, I thought that one was a joke.” It isn’t much of a defense, or is it?

I would appreciate any attorney or Tax Department official, willing to weigh in on this question: If I’m just plain-spoken and honest and publicly state here that I am going to disregard this law that is universally disobeyed and unenforced, am I disobeying any law at all? Am I guilty just because I said so?

Laws should be as few as possible and enforced without bias. That’s liberty, something in danger in America. I hope there are many voices demanding less State Tax law and prosecution of the IRS.

STOP THE BULLYING!

Sally Douglas

Spanishburg

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