‘Tax zapper’ programs up for legislative review

Posted Feb. 07, 2012, at 1:50 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 07, 2012, at 7:15 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Without taking a final vote, a Maine legislative panel has scaled back a bill aimed at so-called tax zapper computer programs that help tax cheats.

The Taxation Committee on Tuesday removed a section that would make the bill take effect immediately after passage. It also removed references to estimated losses tax zappers are costing the state government.

Bowdoinham Democratic Rep. Seth Berry’s bill would ban software programs that falsify electronic sales records so businesses can underreport the totals and lower their sales tax bills.

The tax-evading programs, which can be installed through flash drives, have been detected in other states and countries. Georgia has passed a law barring them, and the National Conference of State Legislatures says six states besides Maine are considering them.

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