Tax official says agency works with registered agents on new levy

CARSON CITY — Taxation Department Executive Director Deonne Contine on Thursday responded to concerns about the collection of the new commerce tax, saying the agency has worked with registered agents on the best way to notify their clients of the new levy.

The Tax Department does not have information about the clients who have used registered agents to incorporate and so cannot contact them directly, the statement said.

“Knowing this, the department met with the Nevada Registered Agent Association to exchange information and discuss alternative methods for filing, including presenting multiple options to help make the process easiest for RAs and their customers,” the statement said.

The comments were in response to concerns raised by Carson City resident agent Jed Block, who said he received about 3,000 information letters about the new commerce tax from the department, apparently with the expectation he would spend time and money to send them to his clients.

Block told the Review-Journal on Wednesday he can’t afford to pay the approximately $5,000 it would cost him to mail the notifications.

Contine also commented on concerns from the Nevada Taxpayers Association about the “additional information form” required as part of the commerce tax collections, including a Social Security number.

The Tax Department said the information being requested is the same as for other taxes collected by the agency. The Social Security number is needed to identify an individual if taxes are owed to the state.

“In fact, the department has requested this information across all its tax types for well over 20 years for the purpose of assuring the correct individual is identified in tax related matters,” the statement said. “Both Nevada and federal law allow the Department to request Social Security numbers.”

The commerce tax was part of a $1.5 billion revenue package pushed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and approved by the 2015 Legislature to fund the state budget and the governor’s education agenda. It imposes a levy on businesses with $4 million or more in annual revenue and is projected to generate $60 million a year.

The first collection is due Aug. 15.

“The issues that are highlighted by Mr. Block and those who have concerns about the routine forms we use to administer taxes are a reflection of those who object to the Commerce Tax,” Contine said in a statement. “The department is committed to working with taxpayers to solve problems and fulfilling our responsibility to administer and collect the tax the Legislature enacted and the governor signed into law.”

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Find @seanw801 on Twitter.

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