Earlier this year, Maine adopted a new use tax amnesty program.
Last week, Maine Revenue Services sent out the
“Special Use Tax Return” to be used by
taxpayers who wish to participate in the program.
Maine use tax is a substitute for Maine sales tax for
transactions in which Maine’s 5% sales tax has not been
collected, e.g., purchases made over the internet, by
catalogue or out-of-state, or when a business withdraws goods from
inventory for its own use. Use tax applies to businesses
and individuals and is imposed at the same rate as sales
tax. In general, the same exemptions that apply to sales
tax also apply to use tax. Maine provides a credit
against use tax for sales taxes paid in another
If a taxpayer fails to timely pay use tax, Maine Revenue may
impose civil penalties and interest, and the Attorney General may
criminally prosecute under certain circumstances.
Under the new amnesty program, a taxpayer will be absolved from
use tax liability, civil penalties, and criminal prosecution with
respect to use tax incurred before January 1, 2012, if the
Files a proper and accurate Special Use Tax Return before
November 30, 2012;
Fully and accurately reports the taxpayer’s proper
use tax liability for the years 2006 through 2011; and
Pays the use tax liability for the three years between 2006 and
2011 in which the use tax liability is highest. The use
tax liability for the three years between 2006 and 2011 in which
use tax is lowest, as well as years before 2006, need not be
The tax liability for the three highest years must be paid
before November 30, 2012. However, the assessor is
authorized to enter into an installment arrangement as long as the
tax is fully paid by May 31, 2013.
The Special Use Tax Return can be found here,
and the legislation authorizing the program can be found
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