Officials unnerve some at gun show

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Now I'm interested to see who shows up at the FT Worth show this weekend.



Officials unnerve some at gun show | AVALANCHE-JOURNAL


Officials unnerve some at gun show



By Adam D. Young | AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Story last updated at 4/30/2009 - 1:47 am

Attendees and sellers at a weekend gun show got a visit from the tax man that some said was unusual, unexpected and unwanted.

And the show's co-organizer, Don Hill, said the visit from half a dozen representatives of the Texas State Comptroller's Office may have scared off many potential customers and sellers from the Gun and Knife Show Saturday and Sunday at the Panhandle-South Plains Fairgrounds.


Representatives of the Comptroller's Office set up a booth for about an hour Saturday morning at the event, approaching people who came to the fair and asking them if they had a state sales tax permit, said Hill, co-owner of the Texas Gun & Knife Association, which operated the Lubbock gun show and others around the state.


"Everybody who came in with more than one gun was asked if they were planning to sell them," he said explaining how being questioned by government officials could have drawn people away from the show. " ... That might be a back door, Obama anti-gun thing."

Hill, who said he's run the shows throughout the state with his wife, Janice Hill, for 15 years, looked around the commercial exhibit building at what he described as fewer than normal attendees at the semi-annual event. He attributed the lower-than-expected attendance in part to the one-hour comptroller's office visit Saturday morning as the show opened. He said Saturday was the first time comptroller's officials canvassed one of his shows.

But a spokesman for the Texas Comptroller's Office in Austin said canvassing events to make sure vendors have sales tax permits is a common tactic.
Allen Spelce said comptroller's officials often visit businesses, gun shows and other events where sales take place. If a vendor is found without a permit, they are asked to accept one of the permits, which can be issued on the scene at no cost to the individual or business receiving it.

"It's across the board - it's not just gun shows," he said.

R.J. DeSilva with the comptroller's office said individuals or businesses are required to get a sales tax permit if they sell any "tangible personal property" - specifically more than two items a year regardless of value. There are more than 642,000 active sales tax permits in the state.
The state office sometimes responds to individual tips from people reporting that vendors do not have a permit or are not properly collecting taxes, DeSilva said, but he did not comment on specifics about the canvassing at the event in Lubbock.

Alan Walraven, North Texas regional director of the Texas Rifle Association, said he believes the canvassing didn't seem like routine enforcement. He describing comptroller's officials as "rude," "intimidating" and eager to leave in a hurry.

"What they did more than anything else was come in and interfere with the gun show," he said.

Walraven, who manned the National Rifle Association affiliate's booth at the event, said he believes the comptroller's office officials left when Lubbock lawyer Guy Hawkins, who was called to the event when the officials arrived, told them he planned to report the canvassing to the media. Hawkins did not return several Avalanche-Journal phone call requests for an interview.

"They finished awfully quick," Walraven said of the officials. "Why did they only do it for an hour?"

But DeSilva said he doubted the officials from the comptroller's office intended to intimidate people at the event, and explained the canvassing process sometimes takes less or more time than others "depending on the size of the event."

To comment on this story:
adam.young@lubbockonline.com l 766-8725
walt.nett@lubbockonline.com l 766-8706
First appeared on lubbockonline.com: 9:59 p.m. Wednesday.
TEXAS/State comptroller's workers checked tax permits, may have scared customers
 

ZX9RCAM

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<snip>"R.J. DeSilva with the comptroller's office said individuals or businesses are required to get a sales tax permit if they sell any "tangible personal property" - specifically more than two items a year regardless of value. There are more than 642,000 active sales tax permits in the state.<snip>

That would cover a heck of alot of people I would imagine.....I never knew this.
 

Shorts

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Yeah it sure would.

Here's my rub:


But a spokesman for the Texas Comptroller's Office in Austin said canvassing events to make sure vendors have sales tax permits is a common tactic.
Why are they targeting paying customers to the show if their targets are 'vendors'? Vendors are registered with the gun show coordinators.


Are these agents also targeting individuals using the newspaper classifieds? Are they scowering neighborhoods for garage sale offenders? Are they contacting Ebay users? Are they tracking craigslisters?


Another thing, taxes don't need to be paid or reported if it is below a certain dollar figure, right???? Especially on an irregular sale activity?
 

ZX9RCAM

Over the Rainbow bridge...
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May 14, 2008
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Yeah it sure would.

Here's my rub:


Why are they targeting paying customers to the show if their targets are 'vendors'? Vendors are registered with the gun show coordinators.


Are these agents also targeting individuals using the newspaper classifieds? Are they scowering neighborhoods for garage sale offenders? Are they contacting Ebay users? Are they tracking craigslisters?
Very good points.....
 

JKTex

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Believe it or not, many of the situations above are true, sales tax should be paid.

It's just near impossible to enforce it. It's near impossible to police and enforce almost every law, tax or other.

But to call a State Comptrollers Office actions "...a back door, Obama anti-gun thing" is hilarious!! :p

It would be interesting and simple enough to find out what other events they are canvasing though. The 1 draw I can see to a gun show would be the $$$'s that exchange hands. Seems it would be the low hanging fruit as compared to a garage sale for example.
 

navyguy

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Now I'm interested to see who shows up at the FT Worth show this weekend.


R.J. DeSilva with the comptroller's office said individuals or businesses are required to get a sales tax permit if they sell any "tangible personal property" - specifically more than two items a year regardless of value.
-----------------

Please! that is nothing but harassment. How many members here have sold more than two items in a year? (net m ;)) I wonder if they show up at Trader's Village or monitor Crag's list or Ebay?
 

Shorts

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Believe it or not, many of the situations above are true, sales tax should be paid.

It's just near impossible to enforce it. It's near impossible to police and enforce almost every law, tax or other.

But to call a State Comptrollers Office actions "...a back door, Obama anti-gun thing" is hilarious!! :p

It would be interesting and simple enough to find out what other events they are canvasing though. The 1 draw I can see to a gun show would be the $$$'s that exchange hands. Seems it would be the low hanging fruit as compared to a garage sale for example.

That looks true here, Occasional Use Tax Return: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/01-156.pdf


Geez, why does every stinkin' penny HAVE to be taxed by somebody! :banghead:
 

navyguy

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That looks true here, Occasional Use Tax Return: [url]http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/01-156.pdf[/URL]


Geez, why does every stinkin' penny HAVE to be taxed by somebody! :banghead:
I think that form is meant for interstate internet sales. As I read that it would not apply to me selling a gun at a gun show. The form states it applies to all items sold where sales tax has not be assessed. If I bought the gun and paid tax on it, that satisfies that condition. Anyone sending in taxes on internet sales that ?

I think the spirit of the tax law is for those people that sell on a regular basis as part of their income, not the individual that occasionally sells something to another individual. For instance, if I reloaded .45 ACP and rented a table at all of the shows to sell them as a side business, I should have a tax number and collect and send in taxes. But if I find myself with a few extra boxes of .45 ACP (Yeah right) and take them to a show and sell them in the isle, no big deal.

I've got to believe of all the money that exchanges at gun shows, the majority IS taxed. All of the big high volume sellers collect tax. It's just the individuals selling the the isles that do not. I think there is way more "missed taxes" from Craigs List, Ebay, Traders Village and the Sunday paper classifieds then from the individual sellers at a gun show.
 

Starker

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Mar 11, 2009
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The High Ground of Texas
The local buzz (as opposed to the media polished buzz) is that they were telling almost everyone (sellers and buyers) that entered the show that they had to have a permit. Then the lawyer got there and told people what the law was, so the tax collectors got up and left.

I was not there, but I have heard from several that were. Each of their stories seem to jive with each other. If they were not misrepresenting the law, why did they leave?
 

Shorts

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Yup you're right. My interweb connection croaked so not easy to edit that post. Gotta love blackberry!
 
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