Tax you may not know to pay could cause you trouble later on

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- For items that Idahoans don't pay sales tax on, like things bought in Oregon or online, there's a "use tax". That's because by law, you're supposed to pay a tax on anything you buy. So when you're not charged tax in certain places, the State Tax Commission says it's your responsibility to still pay it when you file your taxes for the year.

But Idaho's Sales Tax Bureau Chief, Mark Stones, says most people don't.

"Probably about 1.5 percent of individual income tax returns had this use tax claimed on them," Stones said.

In 2012, that was only 9,600 of the nearly 700,000 Idahoans who filed their taxes. And all of the use tax that was paid in 2012 only added up to about $540,000.

"We estimate that it's costing the state about $46 million a year," Stones said.

Stones says there is one line on Idaho's tax forms that mentions use tax, but that taxpayers often skip it.

The Tax Commission says lawmakers have pushed several bills that would add tax to online sales in previous years, but none have made it all the way through the legislature.

So, for now, the commission says people need to keep track of what they buy and include use tax when they file.

"If we're made aware of the issue, of a particular transaction that wasn't taxed," Stones said, "We'll contact the taxpayer and collect the tax along with any interest due, and there are penalties that could be imposed."

The Tax Commission says those Idahoans who do include use tax on their yearly tax form end up paying an average of about $56 for it.