The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has been encouraging small businesses in Amish communities to file their taxes electronically, but that’s a problem since the Amish in some of the small upstate communities don’t use electricity, computers or phones.
The Waterbury Daily Times reported that the small business owners have traditionally been filing and paying their sales taxes by mail, but that clashes with a state mandate this year requiring businesses to pay their sales taxes electronically. The mandate is intended to reduce costs and errors associated with paper filing. But it also presents a dilemma for Amish business owners, for whom electronic filing would represent a change of lifestyle. That’s especially true in some of the more conservative communities, which have also rejected government demands for smoke detectors, photo IDs and other modern contraptions.
The state taxation department has offered to talk with the business owners about the problem and said they should call the Taxpayer Contact Center, but since the Amish don’t use telephones, that too presents a perplexing problem.
Meanwhile intermediaries are trying to find a solution so Amish business owners can keep using the good old U.S. Postal Service for their tax payments.