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Intrepidation

NH Legislation says 'no' to collecting Mass. sales tax

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CONCORD — It's official: No matter what the Massachusetts Supreme Court decides, New Hampshire won't be collecting sales taxes from Bay Staters who stray over the border to do their shopping.

Yesterday, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch applauded the final passage of a bill protecting New Hampshire businesses from having to collect sales and use taxes on behalf of Massachusetts and other states.

The bill, sponsored by Seabrook's Sen. Maggie Wood Hassan, D-Exeter, received final approval by the Senate during its Wednesday session and now goes to Lynch, who will surely sign it. When the issues first arose, Lynch called the attempted tax grab by Massachusetts "outrageous."

"New Hampshire has chosen not to have a sales tax, and we will not allow other states to force New Hampshire businesses to collect their sales taxes," Lynch said yesterday. "This legislation will protect our businesses and strengthen our state's economy. I am pleased to see this bill received strong legislative support, and I look forward to signing it into law."

New Hampshire's lack of a general sales or use tax is a strong selling point its retailers use to attract out-of-state customers. Seabrook in particular has benefitted from being a Granite State border community to Massachusetts, which could soon see a rise in its sales tax from 5 to 6.25 percent.

Seabrook's Route 1 stretch has become a retail mecca, attracting Massachusetts shoppers and large national retail outlets like The Home Depot, Lowe's, Kohl's, Target and Town Fair Tire.

The bill was filed in response to action by Massachusetts Department of Revenue agents who moved against Town Fair Tire, a Connecticut-based business with stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, trying to force the company to collect Massachusetts sales/use tax from its Bay State customers who shop in New Hampshire.

The state attempted to collect $108,000 in use taxes from Town Fair Tire for sales it made to Massachusetts customers at its New Hampshire stores. The Town Fair Tire case is before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte filed a brief on behalf of the retailer. Ayotte said she acted because of concern the action taken by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue could be interpreted to expand its authority to collect taxes from New Hampshire businesses. The Massachusetts tax law should not be enforced in such a way as to interfere with interstate commerce, she said.

Once signed into law, New Hampshire retailers shouldn't have to provide sales information to out-of-state tax collectors. It also ensures New Hampshire retailers do not have to collect and provide private consumer information to other states for a determination of use or sales tax liability when such disclosure is inappropriate.

In past interviews, Hassan, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the bill was also meant to protect individual rights, something historically important to New Hampshire residents.

"If Massachusetts chooses to tax its citizens for use of products they buy in other states, Massachusetts needs to find a way to collect that tax from their citizens and not put the burden on New Hampshire businesses," Hassan said in a past interview. "This would place an undue burden on New Hampshire businesses. How is a store clerk supposed to know which of their customers comes from Massachusetts without collecting information about their addresses their customers may not want to give."

In an other landmark action in its Wednesday session, the Senate passed by a 15-9 vote an $11.6 billion state budget that includes revenue from an expansion of gambling in the state through video gambling. The expansion would allow 13,000 slot machines at the three state racetracks in Seabrook, Belmont and Salem with a possible $185 million in state budget revenue.

The action places a bet with long odds that the House will agree to legalize video slots to help pay for spending. The House has consistently rejected video slots.

The two chambers meet Monday morning to begin hashing out a compromise on their differing versions of the budget. Both sides say their biggest differences are over gambling, not spending choices.

Lynch also has expressed reservations about video slots. Lynch and legislative leaders are working behind closed doors on alternative revenue proposals.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_s..._156003108.html

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This is yet another reason why I love NH. Protected people and business' best interests and telling Taxachusetts politicians to piss off.

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NH certainly is an oddball state.

Very freedom loving types.

I might consider living there if it weren't for the fact that its located in the North East... too cold.

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Hmm according to some thing i got Massachusetts taxes are lower on average than usual... just a lot of debt.

As for California, we have a neato use tax, which means that if you buy something from out of state you have to report it on your income tax and then pay taxes on it because you "used" it in Cali.

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How would this even be enforceable anyways? If Mass. got their way, any reasonable New Hampshire business would just have a 'don't ask' policy when it comes to customers' whereabouts.

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Best thing I ever did was move up to New Hampshire from the Republic of Dukakis. Hopefully the increase in revenue from additional ASSachusetts shoppers will allow the NH state government to start chipping away at the high property taxes we have up here.

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I like NH a little more every day...

Might be a place I'd like to relocate to.

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This is yet another reason why I love NH. Protected people and business' best interests and telling Taxachusetts politicians to piss off.

i must say, that is cool. especially since its massachutsetts too....LOL

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