SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Public Affairs Office Phone (803) 898-5464
Contact: Danny Brazell Fax (803) 898-5446
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2004
North, South Carolina revenue agencies
Join forces for audit of ATV, water craft retailers
Tax auditors from the North and South Carolina revenue departments will join forces next month in a combined effort to track down all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and watercraft dealers who may be dodging payment of the statesí sales and use tax.
The joint tax compliance effort between the two states will target ATV and watercraft retailers located along the North Carolina/South Carolina border.
Information gathered from previous audits of ATV and watercraft retailers, and contacts with their customers, have shown both revenue agencies that there are frequent problems with the way these retailers report their sales and use tax. In some cases, for example, sales invoices issued by ATV dealers show no sales tax was paid by the dealership because delivery of an ATV vehicle or boat was made to the customer in the neighboring state, making the customer responsible for reporting and paying the use tax. However, when Department of Revenue officials from both states contacted the customer, the customerís invoice often incorrectly showed the tax was paid by the dealer. Such tactics have been used to avoid paying the sales and use tax to either state. The use tax, which in South
Carolina is 5% of the purchase price plus any county local sales and use tax, is owed on merchandise bought out of state when no other stateís sales tax has been paid.
During the joint tax compliance initiative, auditors from both states will review dealer invoices, business records and delivery information to determine if there is a tax liability and whether the dealer or the customer is responsible for paying the taxes owed. Auditors also will be on the lookout for attempts by retailers to defraud the states by intentionally misrepresenting payment of the sales and use tax.
The cooperative auditing effort is an attempt by both North and South Carolina Department of Revenue officials to collect some of the millions of dollars in use tax that is unreported each year. South Carolina Department of Revenue officials estimate that the state loses about $200 million yearly in unreported use tax. The revenue agencies have not determined how much revenue may be collected by the current joint tax compliance effort. No timetable has been set for completing the joint auditing effort.
Both states are members of the Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators (SEATA). SEATA members frequently exchange revenue collecting information and enter into collaborative tax collecting agreements, such as the current initiative between North and South Carolina.