State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

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State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors
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(Photo: Old Spanish Days)

Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

Wednesday evening, at approximately 4:30 PM, seven bilingual enforcement agents and a supervisor from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, Compliance and Outreach Program made contact with the Santa Barbara Police Department Watch Commanders Office to announce a compliance operation they executed throughout the day on Wednesday.

The agents were officially in Santa Barbara to conduct compliance checks and enforcement on a vendor list supplied to them by financial representatives from Old Spanish Days. Through most of Wednesday they made contact with many of the non-profit vendors with sanctioned booths authorized by Fiesta.

However, when the agents were unable to find localized parking, on a whim, they drove up State Street and noticed the proliferation of possibly non-permitted confetti egg vendors lining the 300 block though 1000 block of Lower State Street. 

The agents say they contacted each of the egg vendors, maybe hundreds, and told them they were in violation of the law, capable of being issuing stiff fines and misdemeanor violations, and ultimate seizure of the elicit product. Those hoping to gain immediate compliance worked with the agents to fill out an online form – others were directed to drive to the Ventura Office to apply for a temporary permit for the rest of the week. They left each violator with literature (attached) and said they would be back Thursday to take enforcement action. 

The Santa Barbara Police Department informed the agents that most of the egg vendors were members of our Latino community, predominantly Spanish-speaking, potentially lower socio-economically, possibly marginalized immigrants, AND any heavy-handed enforcement action could alarm and upset a pre-existing, stable and positive relationship with some of the most vulnerable members of the fabric of our community, not to mention any future intelligence gathering partnerships to solve crime. 

We relayed that it may sow confusion, in that many might not understand the distinction between a State tax agent and a more daunting interaction with federal authorities.  We also informed the agents that at this late juncture, most if not all non-compliant egg vendors did not possess the necessary financial infrastructure to sustain an audit.

The Police Department ultimately drove the agents to the City Administrator’s Office so that the PD, tax agents, and Administrator’s Office could all better understand what was in the best interest of public safety and ongoing festivities.

Our Department worked with the agents to establish that this year NO enforcement action would take place.  Instead, the agents would pivot to an education campaign to inform future egg vendors on Thursday and Friday, that next year the Tax and Fee Administration would be conducting an enforcement action during Fiesta.  In turn, this will give our municipality ample time to work with the community to ensure full compliance next year. 

Today, a well-intentioned post from Black Lives Matters on Facebook suggested (see attached post) that the agents were fake scammers.  We thought it important to inform the public of the confusion.

Contact for California Department of Tax and Fee Administration: Paul Cambra, Office of Public Affairs 916-324-2720, paul.cambra@cdtfa.ca.gov

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420722 Aug 03, 2018 10:33 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Tax or no tax it was better to see people working and earning a buck under the hot sun than to see them asking for handouts from the government. I bought some eggs, found that they were all filled with paper confetti and enjoyed fiesta with friends and fam. Better than crying on edhat about something that’ll probably never change.

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 09:20 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Well this is a new low! The state could be so far ahead and save taxpayers so much $$ if they let these inspectors go just one year before their retirement that we taxpayers pay thru the nose to support , this is where the really big $$ and savings to the system come from. These people that basically have an arts and crafts hobby that add such joy and local color to the Fiesta week make very little $$, Posiby not even enough to cover their costs of making them, most likely not even enough to take out permits. Stop messing with the local vibe here big brother! Kudos for our SBPD that stepped in with this bulling. A few overzealous over paid state inspectors going after the lowest laying/ paying fruit just to prove they have violations! A great solution is if someone would step forward and form Cascarones LLC and have these people all sign up under to one entity so that all of them fall under one entity, thus one licence, permit etc. Still rather top heavy as protection/insurance as an LLC costs about 800 .00 per year and these families might make about 80.00 if they are lucky. Maby UCSB economic forcast should get invoved so we know exactly how many 25 cent eggs are sold during fiesta week. What next!

sb93105 Aug 05, 2018 12:26 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Have you seen the crates of eggs and trucks dropping off more? We are not talking about a few .25 eggs anymore made by one grandma, check out the copyright infringement on Nemo and all the other characters being sold! The cash sales in this magnitude for this many vendors is a slap in the face to everyone doing following the laws, what about all the vendors paying the fees and handling their business correctly ?- Do you really think the majority of eggs are not mass produced? Shame on SB for allowing this for decades-

sb93105 Aug 03, 2018 12:22 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

For decades after the horse parade, if you were one of the lucky ones- you would see the horses and riders cooling off at the beach, a beautiful image of the colors in the costumes the horses and the ocean back drop- Of course its been BANNED ROPED OFF due to environmental impact! Hey City of SB, if you can waive the laws for a certain group of vendors raking in cash without following the laws the rest of us follow how about letting the horses cool off in the ocean today! These folks pay fees, taxes and travel to contribute revenue let the horses cool off, just a thought! Wave your selective wand!

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 11:34 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The comments on here saying that people who want fair treatment under the law - i.e. everyone pays their taxes - is somehow discriminatory b/c these tend to be poor immigrants is so ironic, given that a prior post about the environmental impact of these cascarones didn't draw the same comments, that wanting some environmental enforcement of these polluting devices was discriminatory. So, which is it people? It's only discriminatory when they are asked to pay taxes, but not when people call for a ban or regulation based on environmental concerns? Hypocrites.

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 01:33 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Let me be clear. There is no suggestion that demanding equitable tax treatment in and of itself is grounds for a charge of bigotry. What prompts that charge is the selective focus by many on this thread solely on Mexicans and Mexican-American vendors selling goods purportedly without business licenses or permits. Many non-Hispanic street sellers peddle Fiesta-themed t-shirts, snacks, water, and odds and ends, but our posters focus only on the street food vendors, mariachis, cascarones purveyors and the like. These same commenters make no mention of far more numerous (and lucrative) illegal AirBnb-type scofflaws and those homeowners and small businesses who pay landscapers"under the table," thereby facilitating evasion of state and federal income taxes. Where's the outrage there, huh?

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 11:13 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

trying to collect a measly sales tax on $80 per day sales per vendor likely does not even pay for the time and effort of sending an employee of the state to SB for the weekend to enforce this. This sounds like fake news to me. Has anyone checked their identification?

jdoggydogg Aug 03, 2018 10:58 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

I cannot believe the SBPD spoke on record about protecting these vendors. What about the other vendors in this town that play by the rules?

jdoggydogg Aug 03, 2018 12:42 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

agreed! wasn't there a notice on various local websites earlier in the week alerting us law abiders that the SBPD was going to crack down on illegal vending this year? it's kind of a joke and slap at those who play by the rules. I hear the vendors daily in my neighborhood, all illegal, and noticed a crew selling things at the base of the wharf yesterday. I think the SBPD should have let the state do their job but I suppose all the folks who support the UNDERGROUND ECONOMY wouldn't know what to do should their cheap labor disappear.

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 11:23 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Exactly. They basically admitted to discrimination. I also think that, should any one get sick from teh food vendors, they should sue the city for failure to enforce laws. Why are these people exempt?

Potif Aug 03, 2018 05:17 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

They do that already :( --- If you have more than 3 (I think it's 3) yard sales in a year, you need a license from the State Board of Equalization, and have to pay sales tax on whatever you sell.

RHS Aug 03, 2018 09:53 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Maybe I missed it in the other comments but the idea that the tax people were dealing with children who sell homemade things is pretty unreal. We have seen the organized big table commercial nature of this business. One might even suspect there are violations of child labor laws going on. Good for the agents for giving them a year warning but I doubt that the people getting the warning will give a damn.

bookman Aug 03, 2018 09:51 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Wow, all the bashing of immigrant folks on this thread -- specifically, Mexicans - makes me sick! This at the same time the City is celebrating its Spanish-Mexican heritage no less! But thoughtful people aren't fooled by the tax-avoidance PRETEXT foisted by the usual embittered voices to mask their bigotry. The fact is that low income Mexican income immigrants pay a disproportionate high percentage of their incomes in the form of regressive sales taxes for food, basic goods, gasoline and registration fees that go to afford government services provided to all of us.. Add to that the financial burden of raising young families in an outrageously expensive housing market. A little human empathy might be in order. Perhaps our well off, yet meanspirited, neighbors represented on this thread could cut some slack for our less affluent immigrant neighbors during Fiesta considering that many of them will be serving up our Mexican delicacies and entertaining us during these holidays. Just saying...

Bob Wilson Aug 03, 2018 04:44 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Bookman: Can you please list the laws that (illegal) immigrants can break, in order to survive Santa Barbar's high cost of living? I'd like to see which ones you think are OK to break, and which ones you decide should be followed.

Flicka Aug 03, 2018 08:33 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

There is a idea brewing that the top 1% is due to get another tax break worth 1 billion, if the administration can bypass Congress on this one. But for sure we need to get these egg sellers to cough up a few bucks, "it's only fair".

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 09:30 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The entire government structue from our city council, mayor, congressman, state senator, attorney general, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, both representatives, and both US Senators are Democrats, and you are still unhappy about 2016? Bizarre.

mtndriver Aug 03, 2018 08:25 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

I'm very glad our PD responded the way they did. The people selling cascarones need the bucks a lot more than anyone posting on edhat, and they've been selling the danged things (I actually hate the mess they make) for more than 60 years. They save eggs all year to do this. Please, lighten up! It's Fiesta!

Factotum Aug 03, 2018 07:40 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

City taxpayers spend over $120,000 on police department spokesperson Anthony Wagner, who in turn demands we support these illegal street seller scofflaws. Something has gone very wrong with this city.

Factotum Aug 03, 2018 09:47 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Taking over whole city blocks with hundreds of illegal sellers passing off contaminated and garish litter has not been a long-standing tradition. It became a crime of opportunity at this massive scale in only the past few decades of lax city leadership. Nope, these mass market illegal egg sellers are not part of the Fiesta tradition. Cascarones yes. But this level of sidewalk sale takeover of late, never.

ZeroHawk Aug 03, 2018 08:53 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

are you kidding?? This has been a tradition in this city long before you or I came here. Seems like someone peed in your cerial this morning....

oops Aug 03, 2018 06:13 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Surprised this happened under Jerry Brown. Interesting to see how much co-op SBPD will provide this w/e. Do we know what the police chiefs position is?

SBTom Aug 02, 2018 10:57 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Did anybody happen to the the follow-up post from Black Lives Matter SB? Here it is: ***** Fam, we were just alerted about some clarifications to our below post. The SBPD provided a Media Release explaining that the State Tax Agents were the individuals asking for permits and that it was not a scam. Please read the full release here to learn about SBPD's response. To be clear, we support our street vendors and folks hustling to provide for their families. We also are concerned that mostly black and brown street vendors continue to be criminalized while the hustle of white folks like AirBNB are allowed. Providing for your family should not be a crime. *****

a-1568638339 Aug 02, 2018 10:55 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Where are all the kind people who used to comment on Edhat? Scared away by the trolls from The Indy and Noozhawk I guess. I agree with this kind gesture the city made of giving the vendors a year’s notice.

bookman Aug 03, 2018 02:02 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

I think what we've been encountering on Edhat recently reflects the steady inflow of right-wing commenters from the Indy and Noozhawk websites both of which have closed their comment boards because of their rankerous commentary. That heated rhetoric had driven away subscribers and drawn increased demands for closer -- and time-consuming -- monitoring of the comment board. It made more business sense to simply close them. Edhat may face the same conundrum. To my knowledge Edhat is now the last open comment board in the county; the Nextdoor platform is a "closed" website open only (theoretically) to neighbors of designated neighborhoods. So while free speech is a cherished right in our community, it may soon not have a home if Edhat closes it boards. Perhaps now is the time to finally subscribe!

NamasteYogi Aug 02, 2018 10:02 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Wow this is just crazy. I agree with most posters that no matter who you are and no matter what background you should pay taxes like we all do. But the fact is there are ice cream vendors and corn vendors around the neighborhoods all week long, there are endless trucks with 2 to 3 guys working maintenance routes on gardens everywhere, that pay no taxes. I guess there’s a difference between selling a service and selling an actual item that is tangible, as there is no effort to enforce all the small garden guys that pay no taxes. There are hundreds of mariachis that come up for this weekend that are paid in cash, none of which pay taxes. So where do you draw the line, where something is tangible and there’s an actual thing that’s being sold and passed hands, And not services? I agree with other posters with so many problems in this community, it seems that the focus of enforcement is very misguided. In my neighborhood there are three women that work on these eggs all year long. Their driveways and living areas are constant workshops for the eggs all year long. I don’t think people come from out of town to sell eggs for the most part. The mariachis on the other hand, all come from Los Angeles.

a-1568638339 Aug 03, 2018 11:19 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Namaste, services are not subject to sales taxes. They are subject to income tax. And there is enforcement, to the extent possible. They are selling products without permits and paying of sales taxes. Illegal.

Factotum Aug 03, 2018 08:23 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Additionally, our elected representatives never miss an opportunity to lavishly spend tax dollars. If you spend them, you also have to raise and collect them. You cannot escape this truism. Time voters figured out there is this connection. Stop voting for politicians who promise free everything, while at the same time reacting in shock when this requires actual collection and enforcement.

Concerned4Calif Aug 03, 2018 07:41 AM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

That is basically correct. Sales taxes are on tangible items and not services unless they are part of the fabrication of a tangible item. So think delivery, assembly and installation of personal property (not real estate - that has its own tax scheme). Cascarones are personal tangible property so subject to sales tax. Mowing the lawn is a service not subject to sales tax but subject to income tax. The tax system has developed over many hundreds of years and is pretty complete and balanced - when enforced in a complete and balanced way. Trust me the government never misses an opportunity to take its share.

Ryan93105 Aug 02, 2018 08:21 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Its 817pm Thursday night, and the majority of those who think these sellers should be subject to the same taxes and whatnot that all other street vendors are held to, have received at least a 2/3 percentage of upvotes. Can't wait to see what this thread looks like tomorrow. And yes, all street vendors should be subject to the same regs as everyone else. To not do so would be almost a symbol of pity, as though those in certain socioeconomic backgrounds are considered lesser than, and thus need a handicap score to compete with everyone else.

GeneralTree Aug 02, 2018 06:27 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Why would they target the community's most vulnerable? This seems racially motivated. With all the real tax fraud going on by the wealthy and they come here to target egg vendors is absurd.

Yeti Aug 02, 2018 06:12 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Amazingly pathetic. The ahole bank managers at Wells Fargo Bank pressure their front line staff to open bank accounts without customer approval, charging feesto the customer, essentially STEALING from them, but did they go to jail?? But instead "the man wants to charge a fee and tax Grandma for selling their eggs?? Government IS the problem.

a-1568638339 Aug 02, 2018 06:51 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The heck are you talking about ? Wells Fargo is facing billions in "fees". This is not a "fee" its taxes thatwe are all supposed to pay on our income.

a-1568638339 Aug 02, 2018 05:45 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The wheels are falling off the City of Santa Barbara, crime up, too many closed storefronts to count, and every bench in downtown occupied by some poor soul either wasted or insane....our city leaders concerned about and focused on: plastic straws and confetti eggs. All I have to say to our city leaders is...1816 State Street is passing out confetti eggs and drinks with plastic straws...how about enforcing the law at THAT toilet!!!

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