News Laws and Tax Increases Now in Effect

Posted on October 2, 2019 by admin


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Several new laws and tax increases became effective on October 1st, 2019. These laws cover a number of issues from the opioid epidemic, youth smoking and vaping habits, school security, tax assistance for the elderly, and protection for victims of sexual assault and family violence.

Taxes increased on prepared meals, digital goods (Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, etc.) and motor vehicle trade-ins, to name a few.

I’ve provided more details below, along with useful links for your reference.

As always, if you have questions or comments regarding this or any state government matter, please feel free to contact me directly. I am happy to help in any way possible.

Office Number: (800) 842-1423

Email: Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov

Tom

 

Tax & Fee Increases

Digital Goods – The tax on digital goods has increased from 1% to 6.35%. This increase applies to a wide range of online services, including, but not limited to, TV streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Hulu), online music (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music), eBooks, and in-app purchases made on smartphones.​​​

Prepared Foods – The tax on prepared meals has now reached 7.35% on certain prepared foods. Last week, the Department of Revenue Services released a revised bulletin after unexpectedly including thousands of previously untaxed grocery items in their initial interpretation of the law as stated. Importantly, these items, including basic necessities, remain at risk of becoming taxable. The only way to protect consumers from being impacted by this regressive tax is to call a special session and remove the part of the law that taxes groceries. My colleagues and I have petitioned, and await further action from the Speaker of the House.

Motor Vehicle Trade-In Fee – The motor vehicle trade-in fee of $35 has increased to $100. Instead of being rewarded for trading in their old cars for new, more efficient vehicles, car buyers are being punished with a tax increase. This tax hurts not only families looking to upgrade their cars but also businesses that rely on fleets of vehicles to facilitate their everyday operations.

Alcohol – The excise tax on all alcohol sales, except beer, has increased by 10%. This significant increase will be felt by package stores small and large, as well as consumers looking to make alcohol purchases for family gatherings and events.

New Laws

Public Act 19-13: An Act Prohibiting the Sale of Cigarettes, Tobacco Products, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Vapor Products to Persons Under the Age of Twenty-one

  • Summary: Raises, from 18 to 21, the legal age to purchase cigarettes, other tobacco products, and e-cigarettes, and increases fines for those persons or businesses who sell to anyone under the legal age.

Public Act 19-38: An Act Increasing the Penalties for the Sale of Fentanyl

  • Summary: Expressly codifies the classification of fentanyl (a synthetic opioid analgesic) as a narcotic substance. By law, the penalties for certain illegal actions involving narcotics are higher than those for certain other non-narcotic controlled substances.

Public Act 19-43: An Act Concerning the Confidentiality of Law Enforcement Records Concerning Victims of Sexual Assault and Family Violence

  • Summary: Authorizes the nondisclosure of the names, addresses and identifying information of victims of sexual assault and family violence contained in law enforcement records.

Public Act 19-52: (See Sec. 3) – An Act Concerning School Security

  • Summary:  Requires DESPP to develop criteria to identify qualified school security consultants operating in the state and limit its existing school security consultant’s registry to include only these qualified individuals. By law, DESPP must update this registry annually, make it available to the public upon request, and publish it on the department’s website.

Public Act 19-66: An Act Expanding Eligibility for Tax Relief for Certain Elderly Homeowners

  • Summary: Expands the state’s “Circuit Breaker Program” (Elderly and Disabled Homeowners’ Tax Relief Program), which entitles older adults and individuals with a permanent and total disability to a property tax reduction, to now include owners of real property that is held in trust for the owner. Prior law was silent regarding such trusts.

Public Act 19-169: An Act Extending Good Samaritan Protections for Person or Entities that Include an Opioid Antagonist Within a Cabinet Containing an Automatic External Defibrillator.

  • Summary: Extends Good Samaritan protections to persons or entities that include an opioid antagonist within a cabinet containing an automatic external defibrillator.

Public Act 19-191: (See Sec. 1-2, 4-6, 9-11) – An Act Addressing Opioid Use

  • Summary: Requires pharmacists to offer consultations to all patients when dispensing a prescription. Also requires prescribing practitioners who prescribe an opioid drug with more than a 12-week supply to establish a treatment agreement with the patient or discuss a care plan for chronic opioid drug use, among other changes.