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The Appellate Tax Board on April 4 issued a decision that clarifies not only that sales tax is due on the rental of golf carts, but also that ignorance of the tax law in this case was not a defense.

In Hillside Country Club Partnership Inc. vs. Commissioner of Revenue, the ATB issued Findings of Fact and a Report in favor of DOR, a decision which allows the agency to proceed with the collection of $5,943 in sales tax from the golf club in Rehoboth.

DOR audited Hillside in 2007 for unpaid sales tax on meals from 2004 to February 2007. During that audit, DOR also found that sales tax on golf cart rentals had not been collected during the same period.

The golf club did not dispute the facts, but argued that the obligation to collect the tax had never been made clear, and that DOR should have educated taxpayers to that end. The ATB rejected that argument because the law is clear that sales tax was due.

"The Board must uphold the law as written. The duty to collect and remit sales tax on golf cart rentals is imposed by statute, and the Board thus found and ruled that the Commissioner's assessment was proper," the ATB wrote. The taxpayer now has 60 days from April 4 to file a notice of appeal, if it chooses to do so.

Golfers don't get a stroke back when they hit into a pond they can't see or didn't know about — and Hillside Country Club doesn't get a mulligan because of their claim to not have known the law.

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