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Government Businesses The Almighty Buck IT

Massachusetts Enacts 6.25% Sales Tax On "Prewritten" Software Consulting 364

First time accepted submitter marshallr writes "Technical Information Release TIR 13-10 becomes effective in Massachusetts on July 31st, 2013. It requires software consultants to collect a 6.25% sales tax from their clients if they perform 'computer system design services and the modification, integration, enhancement, installation or configuration of standardized software.' TIR 13-10 was published to on July 25th, 2013 to provide the public a few working days to review the release and make comments."
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Massachusetts Enacts 6.25% Sales Tax On "Prewritten" Software Consulting

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeathToBill ( 601486 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @09:48AM (#44411653) Journal
    Six days from the announcement of a new tax to being required to collect it? Really? How many businesses can change their processes that quickly?
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @09:54AM (#44411731) Homepage

    It also applies to Open Source software. And, what if you're not a reseller -- "you buy Windows, and I'll install and configure it".

    Sadly, I'm just going to assume there will be all sorts of problems here -- because most of the time when lawmakers try to pass laws relating to technology, they fail miserably in their understanding of said technology and make a bigger mess of things.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:11AM (#44411853)
    It takes me about 5 minutes to change all our software to a new tax rate and that's in 5 different software suite. If they're all such a great IT consulting firms, maybe they should be able to as well.
  • Re:Elsewhere (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:15AM (#44411915)

    The problem is that in the U.S. is that your probably already paying close to 8% sales tax (in my home town 15% on entertainment and liquor) and we don't get things like universal healthcare. Instead we get NSA spying and TARP (welfare for the rich).

    I truly don't have trouble paying taxes, however, he the U.S. sorrily lacks real statesmen that care about the country and are good stewards of our tax money. That's why so many people here demand lower taxes without any thought about the impact of things like an underfunded education system.

    While I understand the thought behind a consumer tax (stupid people can't calculate sales tax so they don't consider it part of the cost). Ultimately any consumer tax paid by every person regardless of where you place the tax in the system.. So why not be honest and fair about it and simply use income tax?

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:21AM (#44411981) Journal

    It may take about 5 minutes to change tax rates in software, but I suspect it'll take a hell of a lot more than five minutes to update pricing policy, sales processes (and processing), to revise revenue/profit forecasts, modify forms (to point out this new tax, so you don't lump it in with generic sales tax), get the finance folks up to speed...

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:22AM (#44411995)

    So you changed the "configuration of standardized software"? Did you remember to pay the new tax?

  • Re:Elsewhere (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:25AM (#44412025) Journal

    If they need more tax money why not keep things simple and increase the income tax?

    Seriously? How are you going to hide a tax hike if you keep it open and honest?

  • Re:Elsewhere (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:34AM (#44412125)

    I think a prefer the opposite. Abolish the income tax and make a standard sales tax across the board. Plan the shift over several years in order to decrease the immediate impact of the switch.

    Companies never pay taxes. They shift that burder to the customer through increased prices. Placing the taxes directly on the end user makes the tax system more transparent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:37AM (#44412155)

    California's population has been rising steadily for decades, and has increased by about 300,000 last year. Maryland and Massachusetts similarly have increasing populations.

    This is not people and businesses fleeing by the millions.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:44AM (#44412233)

    Governments have been "singling out one group of businesses" since Hammurabi first passed a tax specifically targeting breweries. That horse left the barn millennia ago.

  • Re:Elsewhere (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:54AM (#44412363) Homepage Journal

    That results in the poor paying proportionately more taxes than anyone else since they use almost all of their money to purchase necessities.

  • by Thavilden ( 1613435 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @10:58AM (#44412393)
    And have you paid your property taxes yet?
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @11:03AM (#44412429) Journal
    It's not changing the tax rate, it's introducing a new tax that was never there before. And that's even ignoring the fact that you'll need a lawyer to interpret the law, and decide which types of job will require the new tax, and which will not.
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @11:07AM (#44412485) Homepage Journal
    Hammurabi, benevolent as he may have been, didn't have to "pass" anything. He simply decreed it.
  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday July 29, 2013 @11:20AM (#44412657) Journal

    The government would actually be the best suited to pensions since they can build up enough of a buffer over time that they should effectively be immune to fluctuations in the market and could eventually hit a point where they wouldn't even need to pay in to the pension accounts again. In short, bad fiscal management is the problem, no pensions themselves.

    Problem is, Detroit's government did run those pension plans... they had a nasty habit of pilfering them to fund city projects.

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