Laws, Regulations and Annotations
Business Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2023
Sales And Use Tax Law
Revenue and Taxation Code
Division 2. Other Taxes
Part 1. Sales and Use Taxes
Chapter 10. Violations
7153.6. Criminal penalties: sales suppression device or software. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, any person who purchases, installs, or uses in this state any automated sales suppression device or zapper or phantom-ware with the intent to defeat or evade the determination of an amount due pursuant to this part is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) (1) Any person who, for commercial gain, sells, purchases, installs, transfers, or possesses in this state any automated sales suppression device or zapper or phantom-ware with the knowledge that the sole purpose of the device is to defeat or evade the determination of an amount due pursuant to this part is guilty of an offense punishable by a fine as specified in paragraph (2), by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or, pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment. In addition, any person who uses an automated sales suppression device or zapper or phantom-ware shall be liable for all taxes, interest, and penalties due as a result of the use of that device.
(2) (A) Where a person is guilty of the offense described in paragraph (1) and the person sold, installed, transferred, or possessed three or fewer automated sales suppression devices or zappers or phantom-ware, that person shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(B) Where a person is guilty of the offense described in paragraph (1) and the person sold, installed, transferred, or possessed more than three automated sales suppression devices or zappers or phantom-ware, that person shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(3) This subdivision shall not apply to a person that is a corporation that possesses any automated sales suppression device or zapper or phantom-ware for the sole purpose of developing hardware or software to combat the evasion of taxes by use of automated sales suppression devices or zappers or phantom-ware.
(c) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Automated sales suppression device" or "zapper" means a software program carried on a memory stick or removable compact disc, accessed through an Internet link, or accessed through any other means, that falsifies the electronic records of electronic cash registers and other point-of-sale systems, including, but not limited to, transaction data and transaction reports.
(2) "Electronic cash register" means a device that keeps a register or supporting documents through the means of an electronic device or computer system designed to record transaction data for the purpose of computing, compiling, or processing retail sales transaction data in whatever manner.
(3) "Phantom-ware" means a hidden, preinstalled, or installed at a later time programming option embedded in the operating system of an electronic cash register or hardwired into the electronic cash register that can be used to create a virtual second till or may eliminate or manipulate transaction records that may or may not be preserved in digital formats to represent the true or manipulated record of transactions in the electronic cash register.
(4) "Transaction data" includes information regarding items purchased by a customer, the price for each item, a taxability determination for each item, a segregated tax amount for each of the taxed items, the amount of cash or credit tendered, the net amount returned to the customer in change, the date and time of the purchase, the name, address, and identification number of the vendor, and the receipt or invoice number of the transaction.
(d) This section shall not preclude prosecution under any other law.
History—Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 532 (AB 781), in effect January 1, 2014.