Taxes. If it worked to catch The Mob, why not Puppy Mills?
Having adopted a puppy mill breeding dog, I have often been frustrated by the fact that our Minnesota legislature refuses to implement stronger laws against puppy mills and inhumane cat and dog breeders in Minnesota. But, a recent e-mail from Animals Folks MN has given me new hope.
Perhaps, FINALLY, there may be a way to go after these folks… and it involves working within existing laws and… It’s called SALES TAX.
According to Animal Folks MN, Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. Sec. 297A.61) states that the retail sales of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are subject to sales tax. Yet, when Animal Folks MN sampled a list of dog breeders 74% did not have active sales tax permits (a sales tax permit is required in order for the state of Minnesota to track and collect sales tax from businesses subject to sales tax).
Unfortunately, the list of dog and cat breeders in Minnesota is not complete (due to the lack of record-keeping by the state and local governments within Minnesota). But, based on data that Animal Folks MN was able to collect, uncollected sales taxes for dog and cat breeders could well be over $2 million yearly, and the amount could very well be more than that.
Given the current recession and our budget shortfall, this dollar amount might be enough of an incentive for the state to actually go after these breeders. Already, other states (California, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) have started to go after breeders in their states for not paying sales taxes. Dare we hope that Minnesota will be next?
I, for one, will hold onto that hope. Are you listening Minnesota Department of Revenue?
This is at the bottom of the Animal Folks “Tax Revenues” page, but I thought I would include it here as well:
Consumers who purchase a puppy or kitten from a Minnesota dog/cat breeder and know or suspect they have not paid sales tax can report the transaction to the Minnesota Department of Revenue Criminal Investigation Division at:
MN TAX FRAUD TIPLINE: 651-297-4195 or 1-800-657-3500
Tipline can also be found at the MN Department of Revenue’s website:
MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE: REPORT FRAUD
You can call 24 hours and you can remain anonymous.
NOTE: Find out more about the tipline and what specific type of information is needed at the MN Department of Revenue website link above. There is also a mailing address posted. The more detailed the information, the more likely it is the case will be referred for a civil audit or a criminal investigation.