"A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money," former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen reportedly once said. Whether he did or not, the statement refers to federal spending.
Similar reasoning could be applied to sales taxes on alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania. A pricy bottle of wine gets even pricier, once sales tax is added in. And when enough bottles of beer, wine or other drinks are involved, the amount becomes considerable.
That is why, under Pennsylvania's so-called border law, state authorities frown upon people in Pennsylvania buying liquor in other states and bringing it home. To be sure, the state police are not likely to arrest someone just for having an out-of-bottle of wine in their shopping bag. But the state's Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement is concerned about people bringing in large quantities of alcoholic beverages from other states -and not paying Pennsylvania sales tax.
This concern is not expected to change, even if Pennsylvania moves ahead with a plan to privatize liquor sales. The state legislature is considering a bill to allow private sales, rather than only through state-operated stores. If it passes, the border law would still remain.
A spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said, however, that legalizing private sales could cut down buying liquor in border states and bringing it back to Pennsylvania. The reasoning is that such maneuvers won't be needed if private sellers make the price in Pennsylvania more competitive.
Sales taxes are of course a potential source of tax trouble for businesses of all types. Failure to properly collect those taxes and pay them over to the state can result in tax litigation.
Source: "Privatizing alcohol sales would not change Pennsylvania's border law," York Daily Record," Mark Walters, 3-8-13
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