I started a tiny online business about 8 - 10 years ago. At that time I attempted to do everything by the book. However I found I had a difficult time with the BOE right from the start. The lady approving Sellers Permits was working another case at the time handling a business who had attempted to file fradulantly. So I guess I caught her in a bad mood from the start.
However, after being accused of attempting to hiding money since my bank account was so new along with other inquiries a Sellers Permit was granted. I was required to file every 3 or 4 months. Too broke to hire an accountant I found it all very confusing. Upon attempting to file my second report, I called to ask questions. The lady acted very put out and refered me to a number for free help. The problem was selling on line 9 or 10 years ago was still fairly new and not everybody knew what to do. The free help line passed me around until they finally decided they didn't know exactly either. Soooo, I tried the BOE lady again. She attempted to help but we had a lot of discussions that went something like me saying "Yes, I know I had $600 in sales but only $26 of that was in CA", "I'm just a tiny business" So after much frustration I finally threw my hands in the air and gave up. I told them to just forget it and I would close shop. Soon following I recieved a letter saying my permit had been revoked for failure to file I think. But it's been so long ago I honestly can't remember if I got the letter first or filled out the paperwork to close the business first. I think closing the business came last.
Soon after I came to realize I needed the peanut sized income I was making to survive. I was struggling big time and the allure of selling a few things to fix my problems was too hard to resist. Soon I was carring on as if business was normal. Not good I know.
Well this brings me to today, over the years I never made more than 16,000 gross. Mind you this is before overhead and shipping. My profit is much much less. My CA sales have been pretty small. I've been forced to collect sales tax since 2005 by the company I use to collect payment. I think over the years I may have collected $700 - $1000.
My conscence is getting the best of me and I've had 9 years or so of sleepless nights. I never wanted to end up here. I just didn't understand what I could do to get out of it short of closing everything down and loosing all I've work hard to create. I am planning to go in and attempt to get a sellers permit again. This time I'm older and have a friend of the family who is an account who can help me to file correctly but I have no idea how to proceed. I'm prepaired to be honest if I have to and pay what I've collected but the interest is a killer. Still I think I can Maybe pay it all. What I can't afford are the penalties.
This leads me to a few questions..........
1.)Is there a way to check status and date filed for Sellers Permits with out raising a red flag?
2.) I recently discovered Chapter 10 section 7153 which states "Any violation of this part by any person, except as otherwise provided, is a misdemeanor. Each offense shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment not exceeding one year in the county jail, or both the fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court." What exactly do they mean by "Each Offense" Does this mean for each business, each year, each month or each sale? This penalty could be disasterious. Please help me to understand. I feel like a deer in the headlights. Frozen in fear and unsure what to do about it.
I sincerely appreciate any and all advice. I thank you for your time.