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Has anyone who buys aquatic organisms from eBay without sales tax come across a "use tax" warning after payment?



"If Pennsylvania sales tax was not collected on this purchase, you may be required to remit use tax directly to the Commonwealth. For more information about your use tax obligations, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at the link below.
Pennsylvania Use Tax"


https://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralT...SUT/UseTax/Pages/Use Tax for Individuals.aspx


I recently bought 50 ramshorn snails (10 breeding size and 40 juveniles) for $18.00 + free priority shipping from a seller in Missouri on eBay. No sales tax was collected ($1.08). My dad says not to worry about the use tax. Is he right? :confused:
 

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Hi @Cambrian Creature,

Your Dad is likely correct, it is extremely unlikely the state will pursue you for $1.08. That said, if major purchases are done online or if multiple medium size purchases are done the state may ask for the sales / use tax.
 

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Technically it would be against the law for a buyer to not pay sales tax on online purchases if they live in a state which has sales tax. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for online sellers, most states are going after the sellers from out of state versus going after each individual citizen of their state.

If it were me as a buyer in a state with sales tax I would certainly not being paying it, unless as Roy said, it was a very large purchase. Even then its fairly unlikely they'd ever come after you.
 

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While I certainly like to follow the rules, there are some times when it is not possible and this may be one of those. I'm betting the state has no system set for you to pay this amount and there may, in fact, be a minimum purchase. Certainly not expert legal advice but I would tend to ignore it as being more trouble to both you and the state than actual value. Collecting that amount will cost several hundred!
 

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While I certainly like to follow the rules, there are some times when it is not possible and this may be one of those. I'm betting the state has no system set for you to pay this amount and there may, in fact, be a minimum purchase. Certainly not expert legal advice but I would tend to ignore it as being more trouble to both you and the state than actual value. Collecting that amount will cost several hundred!
Ignoring for the moment the reality that virtually nobody actually does it (other than maybe for major purchases like a car, etc.), the set system to pay the tax is your annual state tax return. There's a specific line to report unpaid use taxes. Typically there is no minimum and the filing requirement applies even if you have no need to file a state return otherwise. But again that's all technically not realistically.
 

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Almost certainly a state-by-state question and I have not heard the term before and would assume it is not a local question.
 

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Since it's just a tiny amount, pay it with your annual return as others have suggested. Most tax sites and software/apps make it easy. Tax legality aside - audits are no fun. And it's a good habit to be in the mindset of keeping track of matters like this.

(Beyond that, probably a good idea to make sure the snails you transported across state lines are okay/not considered pests. Considered pests in some territories. Now that you have them, it should be fine but it may not be fine to transport them again or allow them to leave your tank.)
 

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In WA state which doesnt have a yearly state tax they passed a law last year that requires all out of state sales to collect a use tax. If they do not then they are required to contact the person with whom they did business and inform them of the total amount of sales for the year. This is there only required obligation. Then the end user is suppose to submit a form to the state with the a check or pay online the use tax for the amount they spent that year from said business.

Also required by law the said business if is to submit to the state a total amount of non taxed purchases, basically so they can bounce that off what you pay from the yearly invoice that the business sent to you.

Thats WA state, others may vary. They will get there money one way or another.
 
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