The State Board of Equalization is reminding taxpayers who shop online that they may owe taxes and there's an easy way to pay up.
Whether it's catalog clothes, mail-order car parts or eBay purchases, the state requires a "use tax" on purchases from out-of-state sellers who don't charge California sales tax. It applies to all purchases of personal items priced below $1,000 each.
And it's supposed to be paid when filing your 2012 income taxes this year. If you don't have receipts, the BOE has a Use Tax Lookup table on its website -- www.boe.ca.gov -- that spells out what you owe, based on income.
For instance, if your adjusted gross income is $30,000, you owe $17. For higher earners with adjusted gross income between $175,000 and $199,000, the amount owed is $94.
The BOE notes that use tax has been around since 1935. It's not an "Internet tax" but partly intended to protect California businesses from out-of-state retailers that can undercut them on price by not charging sales tax.
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