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Zack Hutchins
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518.465.7511

For Release — Wednesday, June 18, 2003

CORRECTED RELEASE:
BUSINESS COUNCIL TO STATE TAX COLLECTORS:
'HAVE MERCY' ON BUSINESSES GRAPPLING WITH NEW SALES TAX

ALBANY—The state Department of Taxation and Finance should "show mercy" to New York State businesses that received little notice of a complicated change in the state sales tax and are now trying valiantly to adjust to the change, The Business Council has urged the department.

"I'm writing to ask that you make a special effort to show mercy to the merchants all over New York State who are struggling to comply with the Legislature's sudden increase in the sales tax," Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh wrote in a June 13 letter to Arthur Roth, commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance. The new state budget imposed a one-quarter of one percent increase in the state sales tax.

"The Business Council, and its allied chambers of commerce, have heard complaints from a number of merchants who received official notice of the tax increase either just before, or in some cases a few days after, it took effect," Walsh wrote. "They are frantically working to comply, but it's not easy."

Many businesses have been forced to seek help from outside consultants to reprogram their computers, Walsh wrote.

"I realize the Legislature gave the Department no breathing room whatsoever in imposing this increase. But in these early days of implementation, I sincerely hope you will find a way to avoid penalties, audits, or other measures," the letter said.

Those measures would only "compound the difficulties facing merchants who are making a good-faith effort to comply with this sudden change in the sales-tax law."

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