First they come for the lemonade stand. Next, they come for the pumpkin stand. Then, they come for you!

October 25th, 2010

You may recall a story from a few months ago where Oregon official shut down a little girl’s lemonade stand because she failed to obtain a temporary restaurant license.

Now the Idaho State Tax Commission has threatened to shut down kids’ pumpkin stand (H/T TaxProfBlog)

Dan Charais viewed his kids’ pumpkin stand as a great way for his son and daughter to learn entrepreneurship and raise money for school sports. The Lewiston man never dreamed the tax man would intervene.

A representative from the Idaho State Tax Commission stopped by the family’s Normal Hill home Friday and told Dan’s wife, Kami Charais, to shut down the jack-o’-lantern operation, the couple said. “They’re basically trying to snuff out 4- and 6-year-olds’ opportunity and enthusiasm to start a business,” Dan Charais said. “I can’t believe they would waste their time with something like this.” The couple’s children, Jacob, 6, and Sami-Lou, 4, are utilizing sales of the orange Halloween staple to raise money to take part in wrestling, T-ball and dance programs. (Photo: Kyle Mills, Lewiston Tribune.)

The State Tax Commission said they would not shut down the stand, but merely wants to educate people about state tax policies. The mother of one of the kids disagrees. And what is the problem? Well the kids are unlawfully competing with a nearby Grocery store.

A representative for the state tax commission in Coeur d’Alene said when reached by phone Friday it has no intention to shut down such stands but to educate people about state tax policies. But Kami Charais said tax commission compliance officer Patrica Gilmore came to her door Friday morning with paperwork telling the family to purchase a license and pay sales tax or be closed by the state. It wouldn’t matter if the family was selling pumpkins, or lemonade, she was told.

“She told me I was in direct competition with A&B foods who is paying the sales tax,” Kami Charais said. The grocery store is one block from the family’s home.

The family is not flinching, and will keep their business open.

“They’re shutting down kids because they don’t have a sales tax permit,” Schweiter said. “Sales tax would be $10.”

But the family hasn’t been spooked by the potential for closure. Jacob and Sami-Lou have already raised a few hundred dollars to pay the fees for sports and dance programs. And Kami Charais said they plan to continue selling pumpkins from their front yard.

“We’re still open,” she said.

Death and taxes.