2019 Sales Tax Holidays

Every year various states offer sales tax holidays to encourage sales of specific items.  See our chart for this year’s participants.

The following states are not participating in sales tax holidays this year. Keep in mind that sales tax holiday participation is subject to change and we’ll update this as announcements are made public.

Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia (Washington D.C), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

 

STATEITEMS INCLUDED / MAXIMUM COSTMONTHDAYSLink to MORE DETAILS
AlabamaHurricane Preparedness
Generators - $1,000
Supplies - $60
February22-24AL DOR Sales Tax Holiday for Severe Weather Prepareness
AlabamaBack to School
Clothing - $100
Computers - $750
School Supplies - $50
Books - $30
July19-21AL DOR Tax Holiday for Back To School
ArkansasBack to School
Clothing - $100
School Supplies
August3 - 4Arkansas Tax Holiday for Back To School
ConnecticutBack to School
Clothing and Footwear - $100
August18 - 24Connecticut Department of Revenue
FloridaDisaster Preparedness
Generators - $750
Other Supplies - $50
May / JuneMay 31 - Jun 6Florida Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday
FloridaBack to School
Clothing - $60
School Supplies - $50
August2 - 6http://floridarevenue.com/
IowaBack to School
Clothing - $100
August2 - 3Iowa Annual Sales Tax Holiday
LouisianaFirearms
Ammunition
Hunting Supplies
September6 - 8Louisiana Department of Revenue
MarylandEnergy Star ProductsFebruary16 - 18Maryland Department of Revenue
MarylandBack to School
Clothing and Footwear - $100
August11 - 17Maryland Department of Revenue
MassachusettsEnergy Efficiency Sales Tax HolidayAugust10 - 11
MississippiBack to School
Clothing and Footwear - $100
July26 - 27Mississippi Department of Revenue
MississippiFirearms
Ammunition
Hunting supplies
August / Sept30 - Sept 1Mississippi Department of Revenue
MissouriEnergy Star Products - $1,500April19 - 25Missouri Department of Revenue
MissouriBack to School
Clothing - $100
Computers - $1,500
School Supplies - $50
August2 - 4Missouri Department of Revenue
New MexicoBack to School
Clothing - $100
Computers - $1,000
Computer Equipment - $500
School Supplies - $30
August2 - 4New Mexico Department of Revenue
OhioBack to School
Clothing - $75
School Supplies - $20
August2 - 4https://www.tax.ohio.gov/
OklahomaBack to School
Clothing - $100
August2 - 4http://www.tax.ok.gov/
South CarolinaBack to School
Clothing
School Supplies
Computers
Other
August2 - 4South Carolina Department of Revenue
TennesseeBack to School
Clothing - $100
School Supplies - $100
Computers - $1,500
July27-29Tennessee Department of Revenue
TexasHurricane Preparedness
Generators - $3,000
Storm devices - $300
Preparedness items - $75
April27 - 29Texas Department of Revenue
TexasEnergy Star Products
Air conditioners - $6,000
Other - $2,000
May25 - 27Texas Department of Revenue
TexasBack to School
Clothing, backpacks and school supplies - $100
August9 - 11Texas Department of Revenue
VirginiaBack to School
Clothing - $100
School Supplies - $20
Energy Star Products - $2,500
Hurricane preparedness items - $60
Generators - $1,000
August3 - 5Virginia Department of Revenue
WisconsinBack to School
Clothing, Supplies - $75
Computer Supplies - $250
Computers - $750
August 1 - 5 https://www.revenue.wi.gov/

Maine Legislators Consider “LOST”

Shopping image

Maine Legislators Consider Authorizing Local-Option Sales Taxes

Although most U.S. states permit their local governments to collect certain types of sales taxes (in addition to the statewide tax), about a dozen state still do not. One such state is Maine, which currently assesses a statewide sales tax of 5.5 percent only. But there is a renewed effort in the state’s legislature to authorize local-option sales taxes (LOST), which could provide an additional source of revenue for cash-strapped municipalities.

Bills Would Allow Municipalities to Target Sales Tax Increases During Tourist Season

There are several LOST bills currently pending before the Maine Legislature. One such bill, known as LD 65, would allow municipalities to impose a local sales tax after obtaining approval in a voter referendum. The referendum question would need to include not only the proposed tax rate, the “purposes for which the revenue will be used,” and any months when the LOST would not be collected.

This last item means that the municipality would not have to collect its portion of the sales tax year-round. Rather, localities could focus tax collection efforts on the summer months when Maine typically attracts a large number of tourists. According to the Portland Press Herald, roughly 36.7 million people visited Maine in 2017, spending approximately $6 billion throughout the state.

A second proposal, LD 1254, would allow for a LOST of up to 1 percent on restaurant meals and lodging. Like LD 65, LD 1254 would require a referendum and allow localities to specify the months in which the local sales tax would apply. But while LD 1254 is restricted to “prepared food or the value of rental of living quarters” to travelers, LD 65 permits collection of local sales tax on any item that is already subject to Maine’s statewide sales tax.

Conservative, Liberal Activists Challenge LOST Proposals

Not surprisingly, many conservative anti-tax groups oppose the LOST bills. Jim Fossel, a former staffer for Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, wrote in an editorial for the Press Herald that “the very concept of a local-option sales tax is fundamentally flawed.” Fossel argued it was a “competitive advantage” for Maine not to have such taxes, and that “towns and cities across Maine ought to continue doing what they can to cut costs and constrain spending.”

What’s interesting is that some liberal activists agree with Fossel–at least with respect to opposing the LOST. Sarah Austin of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, which describes itself as a “progressive voice” for “Maine working families,” wrote on the organization’s website, argued legislators should reject LD 65 and LD 1254 as it would disproportionately benefit those “communities heavily reliant on the tourism industry” while “doing little–or even nothing–for others.”

Austin noted that 10 municipalities in Maine generated 45 percent of the state’s meals and lodging revenue, yet only contained 16 percent of the state’s permanent population. And even a general LOST that was not limited to meals and lodging, such as the one proposed by LD 65, would hit poorer Maine residents the hardest. For this reason, Austin said a sales tax increase limited to meals and lodging would be preferable, but only if implemented as part of more comprehensive tax reform, including higher income tax rates for the “wealthiest and profitable corporations.”

 

 

phone apps

Georgia House Goes a Step Further to Collect Sales Taxes

Georgia House to Require “Marketplace Facilitators” like Uber, Airbnb, and Ebay to Collect Sales Taxes

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a number of states have quickly moved to require out-of-state Internet-based sellers to collect and remit sales taxes on in-state purchases. For example, a new law took effect in Georgia on January 1, 2019, mandating retailers collect that state’s 4 percent sales tax for all online sales.

Now, Georgia legislators may go a step further and compel “marketplace facilitators” like eBay, Uber, and Airbnb to collect state sales tax on transactions completed by their users.

House Bill 276

On March 4, the Georgia House of Representatives passed House Bill 276 by a vote of 158-6. HB 276 proposes to expand the definition of what businesses qualify as “dealers” required to collect and remit sales tax. Specifically, the bill states anyone who “[a]cts as a marketplace facilitator to facilitate retail sales” in excess of $100,000 per year is now a dealer.

A “marketplace facilitator,” in turn, is any business that provides services designed to “facilitate a retail sale that is taxable” under Georgia law.

This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • providing any physical or electronic infrastructure to to bring “purchasers and marketplace sellers together”;
  • transmitting or communicating any offers (or acceptance of offers) between purchasers and sellers;
  • processing and collecting payments from purchasers on behalf of sellers;
  • taking orders or reservations on behalf of sellers; or
  • providing advertising, marketing, or other promotional services.

To put this in practical terms, HB 276 would likely apply to the following situations:

  • A resident of Macon, Georgia, purchases a computer on eBay from an out-of-state seller. HB 276 requires eBay to collect and remit the Georgia sales tax on this purchase.
  • A group of friends in downtown Atlanta arrange for a ride via the Uber app. HB 276 requires Uber to collect and remit the sales tax on this sale.
  • Out-of-state tourists arrange to stay in a private home in Augusta by making a reservation using Airbnb. Now Airbnb must then make sure to collect and remit the sales tax.

In other words, this Bill shifts the burden of dealing with sales taxes away from the individual sellers; many of whom may be too small to register with Georgia authorities; and places it on the companies that “facilitate” transactions with the purchasers.

GA Stands to Receive Millions from Online Sites

Read more

April 01 date

April 2019 Sales & Use Tax Rate Changes

Must Be Spring Fever – Many Sales Tax Changes effective April 1st.

 

ALASKA

The State of Alaska does not levy a sales tax; however, several municipal governments do.  Here are the local changes effective April 1st.

  • Seldovia on Kenai Peninsula
  • Sitka in Sitka County
  • Dyea in Skagway Hoonah Angoon County
  • Skagway in Skagway Hoonah Angoon County
  • Whittier in Valdez Cordova

ALABAMA

  • Evergreen in Conecuh County
  • Florence in Lauderdale County

ARKANSAS

April 1st rate changes in the cities of:

  • Gentry
  • Hector
  • Redfield
  • Wabbaseka
  • Prairie Grove
  • Scranton
  • Waldenburg
  • Wilmot

April 1st rate changes in the counties of:

  • Saline County
  • Sharp County
  • Fulton County
  • Grant County

CALIFORNIA Read more

Do Employer Sponsored Cafeterias Have to Collect Sales Tax?

Missouri Supreme Court Says Operator of Federal Reserve Cafeteria Must Collect Sales Tax

Most states apply some form of sales tax to the purchases of meals and drinks. But what if a business or public employer maintains an employee cafeteria? Does the cafeteria operator need to charge sales tax on the meals and drinks sold to the employees?

The Missouri Supreme Court recently confronted these questions in a case, Myron Green Corporation v. Director of Revenue, that also involved the interaction of federal and state law. The plaintiff in this case, Myron Green Corporation, is a private company that provides food services to clients in Kansas City and several other Midwestern cities. One of Myron Green’s customers was the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

FRB of Kansas City contracted for employee cafeteria.

cafeteriaThe Bank contracted Myron Green to run its in-house cafeteria which is restricted to Bank employees due to security needs. But, if cleared to enter the Bank, visitors could also purchase food and drink at the cafeteria.

Under Myron Green’s contract, Bank employees could pay for their purchases using their identification badges. The Bank would then deduct the purchase amounts from the employee’s next paycheck. Employees and visitors could also pay for purchases in cash, although roughly 80 percent of all sales were paid for using payroll deduction.

Actually, the bank paid Myron Green a lump-sum every two weeks using its own credit card. The Bank then reimbursed itself from the amounts deducted from individual employees. The Bank further subsidized the overall cost of food such that the employees and other customers paid below-market prices at the cafeteria.

Under federal law, Federal Reserve banks are exempt from paying all state and local taxes (aside from property taxes). Myron Green believed this federal exemption meant it did not have to collect Missouri sales tax on any products sold in its cafeteria at the Kansas City bank.

Sales are to employees, not the bank itself, thus taxable.

The Missouri Department of Revenue determined that all the cafeteria’s cash and payroll-deduction sales were made to individual employees, not the bank itself, and the exemption only applied to the latter. After an administrative hearing commissioner upheld the Department’s determination, Myron Green sought judicial review directly with the Missouri Supreme Court.

Missouri Supreme Court Upholds Determination

In a unanimous decision published on January 15, 2019, the Court agreed with the Department of Revenue and the commissioner’s reading of the law.

First, the Court noted that Missouri law imposes a sales tax any place where “meals or drinks are regularly served to the public.” The Court said there was a difference between a company-owned cafeteria and one maintained by an outside contractor like Myron Green. In a 2003 decision, the Supreme Court said a Missouri company that operated its own employee cafeteria did not need to collect sales tax because the firm’s “main business was not operating company cafeterias.” In contrast, Myron Green’s main business was “operating on-site cafeterias for corporate clients.” And the fact that access to the Federal Reserve building itself was restricted did not matter, as Myron Green’s cafeteria sold food or drink to anyone who had cash, i.e. it “regularly served” the public.

Second, the Court also rejected Myron Green’s argument that the Federal Reserve’s institutional sales tax exemption extended to individual employees. The Bank did not purchase food or drink directly from Myron Green. Rather, Myron Green purchased its own food at wholesale and offered it for resale to individual employees. Even though most Bank employees paid for purchases using their employee IDs, this “merely provided an avenue through which bank employees could pay.”


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