California reporting of use tax explained.

In California, a new line has been added to the 2003 income tax returns in which taxpayers must report use tax owed for out-of-state purchases. The Franchise Tax Board has found that many taxpayers are confused by this addition and are having problems properly reporting their purchases. This new line is for out-of-state purchases only. These out-of-state purchases can include, but are not limited to, purchases over the internet, by mail or phone order, or in person while in another state. Many taxpayers are simply entering the wrong information on the use tax line. The most common error seems to be the entering of the taxpayer’s county sales tax rate rather than the amount of tax owed. There is a worksheet available for calculating total use tax due on Form 540, page 21. There currently are 19 states that have included use tax lines on state tax returns. (Press Release, “FTB Provides Tips Regarding Use Tax Line on State Return”, California Tax Board, February 2, 2004)

Posted on March 15, 2004