How Did Massachusetts Figure Out Who Was Buying Cigarettes Online?

from the not-too-many-possibilities dept

As states continue to increase taxes on cigarettes, many smokers have decided to turn to online cigarette purchases to avoid paying the taxes. Imagine the shock of a few thousand Massachusetts residents who then received a tax bill for the cigarettes they bought. No one is exactly sure how the state got the list of buyers, but they do know whose list it was - which limits the possibilities to two likely suspects: the company itself or UPS. UPS is fairly unlikely, since it would be quite a scandal if it turned out they were handing out stats on what they delivered to people. The more likely revealer, then, is the online site that sold the cigarettes - and, in fact, the article suggests they're required by law to file a report of who's buying what in terms of cigarettes. So, even while the company is fighting a lawsuit on that very issue, they may have handed over the list in this case - though, without telling their customers to expect a tax bill.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    MissinLnk, Nov 10th, 2003 @ 8:14am

    Unlikely?

    Did you read the story? The whole thing revolves around the suspecion that UPS was the one to supply the list.

    DirtCheap's lawyer told the Boston Globe that his client did not turn over the customer lists but said the state had obtained UPS spreadsheets that have delivery information.

    UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg confirmed that her employer has complied with legal requests that relate to DirtCheap customers but won't say whether they came from Massachusetts or another state.


    Hmmm. So do we have to be careful who we ship with now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    akamoe, Nov 10th, 2003 @ 8:36am

    Re: Unlikely?

    State Tax Departments: What can Brown do for you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    w.h., Nov 10th, 2003 @ 9:16am

    No Subject Given

    As a Californian, where smokers are treated with the same respect as lepers, I don't have particularly large amounts of sympathy.

    Doubly so because tax-free cig spammers piss me off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Makar, Nov 10th, 2003 @ 10:00am

    No Subject Given

    so much for "free country"...

    Mike: it'd be nice to see how much freedom americans lost in post 9/11 period...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Beck, Nov 10th, 2003 @ 10:36am

    Bad News for Ohioans

    Here in Ohio they added a new line to the state income tax form a couple of years ago, called the "Unpaid Use Tax". You are supposed to enter the total amount you spent last year on out-of-state purchases where sales tax was not charged. This is specifically aimed at Internet purchases. The state then adds the uncollected sales tax to your income tax bill. This is bad news if UPS really did squeal on their customers. I'm sure there are plenty of Ohioans who fail to volunteerily increase their taxes, on the assumption that the state doesn't have information about their online purchases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2003 @ 12:04pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    > so much for "free country"...
    > it'd be nice to see how much freedom americans
    > lost in post 9/11 period...

    Yeah, we should be free to avoid any taxes we don't feel like paying, especially those that use the internet...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 10th, 2003 @ 9:49pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Well, due to the degree to which "voting" has become a meaningless exercise, tax avoidence is *the* primary method by which citizens *can* control their government.

    Tax avoiders are the true patriots of freedom, make no mistake about it.

    It's how and why the friken country got started in the first palce.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Sheila Wright, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 1:44pm

    Massachusetts Tax on online cig's

    I know people who bought from places that didn't report (Reservations) and was hit with a bill.

    Can someone tell me when did Massachusetts institute a 'Border Tax'?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This