What’s the Law: GET Responsibility for Gun Show Table Holders

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

TOPIC: GET (General Excise Tax) responsibility for Gun Show table holders

Question: If I obtain a Gun Show table should I have a GET license?

Got a question? Email Darryl at tenxhi@yahoo.co

Answer: Yes. A GET license is issued by the Hawaii Department of Taxation. There is a one-time $20 fee. Licensees are required to file GET returns usually no more than twice a year, even if it‟s zero. On Oahu, you must report and pay 4.5% on the gross amount you receive on all Gun Show sales.

However, you may be exempt if you are only doing a “casual sale.” Examples are selling your old hunting rifle or cleaning out the closet of old gun gear. But if you sell items regularly at all the Gun Shows, you are not likely exempt.

In 2009, the State created a special enforcement section (SES) in the Tax Department. The SES has a host of powers to fine people dealing in cash and not paying the GET or not having a license. Fines range between $500 and $2,000. The entire intent was to go after the claimed one billion dollars in unpaid taxes from “under- the-table” cash-based businesses. Unfortunately, gun shows, craft fairs, and open markets also fall under this enforcement. Accordingly, Gun Show table holders are urged to obtain and possess a GET license at the Show along with a receipt book. Record all sales and give receipts upon request. You must also file a periodic GET return and pay the 4.5% tax.

For more information, go to the Department of Taxation website: http://www6.hawaii.gov/tax/a7_faq.htm#get. Whether the Tax Department agents will be enforcing the law at the Gun Show is uncertain. They did not appear at the March 2011 Show. But you are strongly urged to comply with the law and get a GET license and maintain accurate records of what you sold just to be safe.

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