Scrooge puts the Great Pumpkin in his place

The Scrooge of Christmas arrives early to, errr, squash the Halloween spirit.

A story from neighboring Idaho that made the headlines here in Puget Sound and around the world:

A couple kids got in trouble for the pumpkin stand outside their home in Idaho.

Jacob, 6, and Sami-Lou Charais, 4, were selling the gourds in Normal Hill (dateline: Lewiston) to raise money for their wrestling, T-ball and dance programs.

As their mother, Kami Charais, tells it:

Someone from the state knocked on her front door and told her that the operation they were running was illegal and either she needed to get a license or would be shut down.

“Honestly, [the kids] don’t really understand,” she said. The entrepreneurial tots had arranged a deal with a family friend with a pumpkin patch. The kids would purchase the pumpkins at cost and then split the profits with the friend. The family friend would pay taxes using his tax ID.

The mother was caught off guard when the state official confronted her. “My initial reaction was I really thought she was kidding. It wasn’t my intention to tax evade.”

The Taxman’s rep stated they were in direct competition with A&B Foods, a market a block from the home, which is paying the sales tax. The commission claimed it wasn’t out to shut down pumpkin stands but rather to “educate people” about state tax policies.

Word of the commission’s actions spread. The family got the permits. And some $600 in sales as a result of the hoopla. The state’s coffers: $36.

Food for thought: How much you reckon it cost Idaho to dispatch its tax rep to put the kibosh on the stand?

Moral of the story: Beware the ghouls and goblins lurking in the pumpkin patches. They’re not the restless and tortured souls from the other side. They’re your local officials.

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