Pay us now, avoid the rush

Arizona, except for the Navajo Nation up near Four Corners, spurns Daylight Saving Time, which fact has always earned it a couple of Smart Points in the back of my mind, given my general aversion to screwing around with things for the sake of nonexistent gains.

Unfortunately, this sensibility doesn’t seem to extend to fiscal matters:

[T]he actual reason for my rant is a note I got from the Arizona Department of Revenue. Apparently they have a program where large filers have to do a special report to pre-pay June sales tax collections by June 29 (rather than by July 20 when they would usually be due). As is so often the case, the law has been changed such that a special requirement for large filers had its threshold changed such that small-medium filers like myself also now have to play. This is a sort of 13th report one must file (we file reports monthly) and the processing of it takes a lot of private time, plus the state has to hire a number of temps and pay overtime to receive this filing.

So why the special requirement? Well, Arizona is on a July-June fiscal year, so June 29 is just about the end of their fiscal year. And they are on a cash accounting basis (like most governments) so any cash that comes in the door, even if it is for a pre-payment of a future liability, counts as current period income. This means that the state is spending a lot of overtime money shifting income by 21 days just to make its current period look better.

And in fact, this is worse than DST, which at least “gives you back” the hour it stole:

[I]t only works once — the first time. It will make the first year this trick is applied look better, but then every year after will go back to being the same, with July losses to the prior year offset by June gains from the forthcoming year. In fact the only way this game can work twice is if the threshold for pre-paying is lowered — which is why I am having to fill out an extra form and pay a large bill 3 weeks in advance. Arizona is looking for another one time gain. And the larger the gain, the harder it will be to unwind this stupid costly process in the future.

Incidentally, said sales tax has just been increased by a percentage point, for a period not to exceed three years. What are the chances that the additional levy will be actually allowed to expire in 2013?

1 comment

  1. Rightwing Links (June 6, 2010) »

    6 June 2010 · 11:25 am

    […] Pay us now, avoid the rush […]

RSS feed for comments on this post