Tax Changes for November 2016

Sales November 2016

Sales November 2016

Sales and/or use tax rates have changed in Zip2Tax products since the October updates.

In Alabama, tax rates changed for the cities of Coffeeville and York.  

  • The Coffeeville official notice can be found here.
  • The York official notice can be found here.

In Arizona, tax rates changed for the City of Globe.

  • The Mayor and Council of the City of Globe passed Ordinance No. 834. which amended the City Tax Code to increase the tax rate on retail sales from two percent (2%) to two and three-tenths percent (2.3%).  More details here AZ DOR.

zip-codes-picture

 

There were 16 states with ZIP code changes…

……in Arizona, California, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Wisconsin.

 

Until next month, best regards!

For October’s changes click here.

B.D. French, Researcher

B.D. French, Tax Researcher

Despite challenges there may someday be an Oregon sales tax

Oregon sales tax

Despite challenges there may someday be an Oregon sales tax

Oregon sales tax

Oregon is only one of five states in the United States that doesn’t have a sales tax. In a recent interview, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said that he hopes to change that one day. Right now, Oregon is extremely dependent on income taxes for revenues. Over two-thirds of Oregon’s revenues come from income taxes. In comparison, the average state gets 20 percent of total revenues from income taxes.

Kitzhaber worries that the state puts itself in a vulnerable position by relying so much on one source of income. Income taxes tend to fall significantly during economic downturns which would put Oregon in a tough situation. By adding an Oregon sales tax, the state would have a more diverse stream of income.

Kitzhaber is currently working with state legislators to come up with an overhaul of the state’s tax code. This is going to be a tough challenge as the Oregon government hasn’t made any significant changes to the tax code since 1957. Kitzhaber is also up for reelection in 2014 so this could interfere with the process of changing tax laws.

Which states are the most business friendly?

America is a competitive place and states battle to be the best at whatever they can. Who has the best schools, the best food, the friendliest people, etc.? As a business owner, you definitely need to know which are the most business friendly.

Like any ranking, this is a matter of opinion and you can spend all day arguing over which state is truly number one. When you dig into the data though, some states have clear advantages over others in terms of taxes and economic strength.Tax Foundation

State corporate tax

A good place to start comparing states is the corporate income tax rate. The less your business owes in state corporate taxes, the better your bottom line so of course we want to keep this low.

South Dakota, Nevada and Wyoming don’t charge a corporate tax, so you can’t do any better than that. Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia also are decent as they cap corporate taxes at 6% or less.

State income tax

State income taxes are another cost of doing business and in a perfect world would be as low as possible. The good news is several states waive this tax altogether to create a more business friendly environment.

If you’re operating out of Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington or Wyoming, you won’t have to pay any state taxes when you draw income out of your business. In terms of taxes, South Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming start to look pretty appealing because business owners in these states avoid both corporate and individual income taxes.

Sales tax

Sales taxes are a difficult challenge business owners have to deal with. But wait, don’t your customers pay this? That would be mostly right. Your business won’t pay sales taxes out of its profits if you are collecting them correctly at the point of sale. However, your business is responsible for determining the following:

  • IF you are required to collect tax (your business has nexus, or a physical presence, within that jurisdiction);
  • WHICH items are taxable and at WHAT rate (some items and services are tax exempt, others are taxed at a rate different than general rates);
  • HOW MUCH to collect (does the state use origin or destination sourcing, what is the current rate for each jurisdiction);
  • WHERE to send the money (some states have you send it to a single office, others have you make payment to individual municipalities); and
  • and HOW OFTEN you have to do this (this could be annual, quarterly, or monthly depending on the state and the size of your business)?

Collecting sales taxes adds to your item’s total price, so it is in your best interest to keep that amount as low as possible to give you a competitive advantage.  (At least for now. The Marketplace Fairness Act could soon make this a thing of the past.)

Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon don’t charge sales taxes. Alaska, Hawaii*, Maine, and Virginia are also competitive by keeping state and local sales taxes to 5% or less.

Use tax

Use tax is a little different than sales tax. This is your responsibility. You owe your state use tax anytime your business makes a taxable purchase but your supplier didn’t charge you sales tax, or the difference between the two amounts if your state’s use tax rate is higher than what your supplier charged you.) Technically, you could be due a tax refund if your supplier charged you a higher sales tax rate inappropriately, but the burden of proof would fall upon you.

In AlabamaArizonaColoradoMissouri and Oklahoma the use tax differs from the general sales tax rate (normally, it is lower). MontanaNew Hampshire and Oregon have no use tax. IllinoisIowaNew MexicoVermont and Wisconsin have a statewide use tax, but no local use tax.

Unemployment

While avoiding taxes is nice, for your business to succeed you also need a thriving economy with buyers looking for your product. The American economy is still struggling as a whole which makes it tough to open a business. However, some states are definitely doing better than others.

North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont, Iowa, Utah and Wyoming all have an unemployment rate of 4.6% or less. If you’re in one of these states, you’d never know the country’s in an economic downturn.

Of course, these states have relatively small economic volume and may be better suited to specific industries. As far as high volume economies go, Virginia, Texas and Massachusetts are outperforming others as these states have unemployment below 6.6%. Not great, but definitely better than other parts of the country.

States with high unemployment rates may offer temporary tax benefits designed to bring in new businesses. It’s always worth a phone call to the economic development office to see what they have to offer.

The bottom line

So how does this all add up?

Based just on these factors, Wyoming, South Dakota and Alaska take the lead as they are strong in all four categories; they combine low taxes with sound economies. The remoteness of these states might be a strike against them however.

For the bigger players; Texas, hands down, looks very business friendly, even with its exceptionally complicated tax jurisdictions. Nevada, Florida and Washington have encouraging tax laws but high unemployment, whereas Virginia and Massachusetts have better economies but higher taxes.

If you are searching for a home for your business be sure to keep these states in mind as they are the leaders in accommodating businesses.

*Technically, Hawaii has an excise tax rather than sales tax.

Oregon sales tax discussed by lawmakers

Oregon sales tax

Oregon sales tax

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber  discusses an Oregon sales tax

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber hasn’t said whether he supports or opposes the proposed state sales tax in one of just five remaining states without a sales tax.

Oregon is currently one of only five states without a sales tax. This may change though with upcoming legislation. On April 15th, Oregon lawmakers held a hearing to discuss whether the state should add a 5 % sales tax on most goods and services. As written, this proposal would exclude a few items like food and medicine.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber didn’t give a clear opinion on where he stands on this new sales tax. He admits that Oregon needs to revise its current tax system and that an Oregon sales tax could be part of a solution. However, he also commented that he is looking at other financing alternatives.

This bill is still under discussion by Oregon legislators. However, a vote could go to the Oregon public later this year to decide whether or not the state should add a sales tax.

Read more at the OPB…

Read more at Oregon Live …