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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a-1533250758 Aug 02, 2018 03:59 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Yeah, this has the smell of politics as well.... the very rich (caucasian) representatives of OSD setting the tax man against poor hispanics. Typical.

a-1533364766 Aug 03, 2018 11:39 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

"virtue signaling" is a phrase invented by the psychopaths at 4chan, and picked up by the rest of the alt-right, to denigrate anyone who cares about other human beings. Its use is ironic -- as with terms like "SJW" or "cuck", it plays a role similar to gang colors, identifying one as belonging to the alt-right club.

Factotum Aug 02, 2018 03:44 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The city's over-blown response to this perfectly legal and necessary enforcement action was irresponsible. Caught somewhere between their phony "environmental" creds, their open-border creds and their social justice warrior creds, they suffered a total meltdown. Kick the scofflaws and their polluting products off our streets. There are legal ways of making a living.

NamasteYogi Aug 02, 2018 10:08 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

You’re so right, the fact that they pick and choose what laws can be bent and broken depending on who you are is the typical double standard that bathes this whole town.

a-1533250835 Aug 02, 2018 04:00 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Well, all the people complaining about the environmental impacts of the cascarones should be happy. Right? Or not? So confusing nowadays, where people really stand. I guess the environmental activist likely won't be happy though, since this targets a "marginalized" segment of the community?

a-1533251494 Aug 02, 2018 04:11 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

I think they should pay taxes on the money they make why not we do when working! Plus they are all over the sidewalks you can’t even walk and they don’t clean up when Fiestas done!

Bob Wilson Aug 02, 2018 04:12 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The lesson here: Laws apply to everyone.....except Latino community, predominantly Spanish-speaking, potentially lower socio-economically, possibly marginalized immigrants. If you fall into that category, then all bets are off.

simplynotmyaddress Aug 02, 2018 04:16 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

This will undoubtedly be deleted, but had to say this is a clear example of authorities going after the "low hanging fruit", when there was probably many many more productive things they could have been doing with the publics money that funds their salaries and retirement.
And a-1533251606's comments are completely racist, uneducated, and completely clueless. This Caucasian would love to meet him/her.

a-1533251888 Aug 02, 2018 04:18 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Well, if confiscation was threatened I'd think the environmental groups concerned about the pollution and dangers these cause would be rooting for this? Oh wait, no b/c these are "immigrants" (making free money in our country w/o paying taxes) and "poor". If these people were not, I bet they would be rooting for it. But, apparently you get pollute only if you're poor and illegal?

Factotum Aug 02, 2018 04:20 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Use a plastic straw and you go to jail, especially if you are a greedy legitimate business. Sell an egg filled with plastic confetti that ends up in the exact same ocean, as long as you are poor and a protected class, you get a halo. Why is anyone talking about "white privilege". Just the opposite - poor and members of our "latino community" and you get a free pass to take money tax free, pollute the ocean, and stick the city taxpayers with the clean-up costs bill. Yes, there is something very wrong with this picture.

a-1533254364 Aug 02, 2018 04:59 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Why? Enforcement is enforcement. There is no law against the cascarones themselves, but by law you must pay taxes on income unless there is some exception that applies. Why should they be exempt?

Z Aug 02, 2018 04:48 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Set a half-dozen revenuers loose in Montecito and they might be able to cover their salaries. On State Street sidewalks? I somehow don't think so.

sb93105 Aug 02, 2018 04:58 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Any time money exchanges hands its taxed no matter your race or bank account balance unless you make less then 600.00 for the year- so how much do they make? Why is this a race thing? Plus i thought they needed a city vendors license like everyone else selling on the streets? So because they are part of the Latino community laws don't apply, maybe I'm missing something?

a-1533254720 Aug 02, 2018 05:05 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

Seems like reverse discrimination to me - all the other legal vendors might have a case here against SBPD, etc. for discrimination.

Bob Wilson Aug 02, 2018 08:43 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

The corn vendors do. Trucks drop off a bunch of guys who sell corn of all things in the east side and west side. They steal shopping carts and sell corn out of small metal trash cans full of hot water (imagine the potential sanitation issues!). These guys are all over the place, and the city leaders try real hard to turn a blind eye. It’s the “poor immigrant” thing.....

420722 Aug 02, 2018 05:23 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

so we’re a sanctuary city that is willing to protect criminals at all cost but we want to give stiff fines to little grandmas and a couple of their grandkids for selling confetti eggs? Wtf is going on here! FYI the money they make whether a little or “a lot” probably means meals for the next month, new school clothes for the kids or maybe one months rent payment. I see nothing wrong with that. Ban the plastic and the Mylar but quit policing every single thing out there!!

Factotum Aug 02, 2018 05:31 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

These are organized operations out of Ventura. Sorry but don't paint your picture with lies. Fiesta is for community groups to fund-raise for local activities with all the permits and requirements in place. It is not for outside groups or gangs to move in and take over for their own tax free profit. They are taking the egg shells from the hotel restaurant industry. This is not a cottage craft operation. Not by a long shot.

Factotum Aug 02, 2018 05:33 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

We don't allow hippie yoach jewelry sales people spreading blankets across our sidewalks either. Nor allow them tax free income leaving their detritus behind for us to clean up.

TomTomTomTom Aug 02, 2018 05:41 PM
State Tax Agents Threaten Cascarones Vendors

I am bothered by the SB police's position on this . Since when did one's immigration and economic status grant one special permission to scoff the law? Not that I care about Fiesta cascarones, but If I dont pay sales tax to the State, I get fined. My business gets fined. They have audited my sales numerous times seeking a few extra dollars. Seems that we have a serious problem in our culture with people thinking they do not have to follow the same rules or the same laws...

a-1533257135 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!!!

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-1533261060 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

a-1533320387 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.

a-1533275707 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!

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.
*****

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?

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.

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