Vermont updates form to remind taxpayers of use tax

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermonters are getting an extra reminder on their tax forms to report out-of-state and online purchases this year.

For four decades the form has included a line for taxpayers to enter what they owe on qualified purchases made outside of Vermont, mostly online. A new second line will read "Check here to certify that no Use Tax is due."

That extra line will serve to underscore the fact that the tax, which is the equivalent of a sales tax, is due on online and out-of-state-purchases, Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson said.

The goal is to increase the number of people reporting this type of spending, especially since New Hampshire and online purchases are not levied for sale taxes.

"We do rely on people's good faith," Peterson said of reporting these types of purchases.

Vermont has one of the nation's highest compliance rates among states that levy a use tax, according to state officials. Peterson estimates compliance at around 10 percent. Vermonters report on average between $30 and $50 spent on out-of-state or online purchases, Peterson said.

She said the state loses an estimated $40 million each year in unpaid use taxes.

Man charged in Vermont kidnapping, extortion

BERLIN, (AP) -- A 28-year-old Vermont man is being held without bail after what police describe as an encounter arranged on Craigslist between him and an older man ended up with the older man being kidnapped and assaulted.

Vermont State Police say they were contacted by 67-year-old Richard Esty of New Haven, who told them he agreed to meet with Jonathan Henry of Marshfield, and that it was during their encounter that the offenses occurred.

Police say Henry physically assaulted Esty and drove him to Berlin, where he extorted money from him, later returning him to his vehicle in East Montpelier.

Police say Henry was later arrested for an alleged parole violation, and then escaped before being recaptured.

It could not be determined if Henry has a lawyer.

Vermont officials to hold hearings on deer, moose herd

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says meetings about the state's deer and moose herds will be held soon.

Discussion scheduled for next month will include results from the 2013 season and prospects for this year's deer and moose season. The department will also give an update on the deer management review.

Attendees are welcome to bring their experience with the herds and recommendations about hunting regulations.

Public hearings are scheduled for March 25 in Springfield, March 26 in Orleans and March 27 in Middlebury. Two more hearings will be held in May.

The March 27 meeting will be live streamed at VPT.org

EPA: Pollutant release down in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- An Environmental Protection Agency analysis shows the overall release of pollutants to the environment in New Hampshire has decreased.

The EPA says during 2012, the latest year for which data are available, 131 facilities reported about 822,371 pounds of chemicals released -- down 62.5 percent over the previous year.

The chemical released the most was sulfuric acid in aerosol form, followed by acetophenone and ammonia.

The top facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in New Hampshire in 2012 were the Merrimack Station in Bow, Marmon Utility LLC in Milford and New NGC Inc. doing business as National Gypsum Co. in Portsmouth.

The EPA report is called a Toxic Release Inventory.

New Hampshire gas prices fall slightly

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Gas prices in New Hampshire have fallen almost a penny per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.31.

The average comes from GasBuddy.com’s daily survey of 875 gas stations in the state.

The national average has increased 1.6 cents per gallon in the last week, to $3.28 per gallon.

The state prices are 34.5 cents per gallon lower than the same period last year and are 8.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average has decreased 1.9 cents per gallon in the last month and stands 26.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

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