Hoffman’s Gun

Full title: HOFFMAN’S GUN CENTER, INC. v. JAMES F. MEEHAN, COMMISSIONER OF REVENUE…

Court: Connecticut Superior Court, Tax Session Judicial District of Hartford/New Britain at Hartford

Date published: Mar 11, 1994

Facts

The plaintiff, a gun dealer, conducted an audit of their business from March 1, 1986, to February 28, 1989. The day book, a record-keeping tool, was used to track all retail sales, including guns, clothing, and firearms for resale. However, the day book did not itemize each sale subject to tax but stated the total amount for all sales.

The plaintiff’s accountant, Wayne Huck, testified that at the end of each month, he would record the gross receipts from the day book, deduct the sales for resale for that month, and apply the sales and use tax percentage to that net amount to determine the sales tax. Scott Soule, the tax examiner for the commissioner, was provided with the day books but no cash register tapes or sales invoices to document the sales listed in the day books.

The plaintiff argued that the auditor should have accepted the taxpayer’s accounting method, which is the use of the day book, with the accountant totaling the gross receipts at the end of the month, backing out the sales for resale, and determining the sales and use tax on the resulting net gross receipts.

The commissioner agreed that under the circumstances in this case, it was appropriate to determine the gross receipts for the period, subtract the resale items, and apply the sales and use tax rate to the net amount. The plaintiff argued that its sales records meet the burden imposed on it by General Statutes 12-408(4), a consumer protection statute, but does not address the record-keeping procedures prescribed by 12-426-23 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.

Issue

(1) whether the day books used by the plaintiff to document its sales should have been accepted by the commissioner of revenue services (commissioner), which acceptance would preclude the commissioner from assessing additional sales and use taxes; and (2) whether a gun purchaser’s possession of a federal license to sell firearms may be used instead of a resale certificate to prove that a gun sale was for resale and thus not subject to sales and use tax.

Decision

In the present action, the plaintiff made the choice not to obtain a certificate of resale from the purchaser of a firearm,  relying instead upon the federal license of the purchaser as an alternative to obtaining a resale certificate. This reliance was misplaced. There was no evidence, in the absence of a resale certificate, to show that the sales alleged by the plaintiff to be for resale, were sales for resale. By not obtaining the resale certificate, the plaintiff had the burden at this hearing to show that each particular sale came within the exemption and was not a sale at retail. General Statutes 12-410(1); Smedley Crane Service, Inc., supra, 9-10. The plaintiff has failed to overcome this burden.

Accordingly, plaintiff’s appeal is dismissed.

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