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Some retailers, according to the Boston Globe, are wondering why they can't run ads saying they will pay the state sales tax.

Well, as the Globe story pointed out, Chapter 64H, Section 23 of the Massachusetts General Laws expressly prohibits such advertising. The purpose of the law is to prevent confusion in the auditing of sales tax payments and to make sure consumers know how much in sales tax they have paid, which can become an issue if an item has to be returned and the consumer is due back both the purchase price and the sales tax.

There is also Chapter 64H, Section 5 of the Massachusetts General Laws, which makes it clear that sales tax must be stated separately from the sales price.

Absent a change in these laws, there is one easy way for retailers to accomplish their goal of "paying the sales tax" ….  just run a sale of 6.25% off the purchase price or provide a rebate equal to 6.25% of the purchase price.

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