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Sales Tax News Week of February 23

Sales Tax Increases on Cigarettes and Fireworks

Do you “light up”? If so, you should know that this week, several locations are looking to increase your taxes. We don’t just mean cigarettes either! Take a look:

Sales Tax Breaks for Data Centers

While those states are potentially raising taxes, Nevada and North Dakota are discussing the creation of a tax break, specifically for data centers. Nevada’s Senate Bill 170 has been introduced, with the desired effect of continuing to attract technology companies and increasing related jobs. The bill would provide a partial reduction in sales tax and personal property tax for the next 20 years, provided the data centers meet certain requirements. Nevada already has an established datacenter market, including well-known facilities in Las Vegas and Reno, with another $1 billion Switch location in Reno whose primary client would be eBay. In contrast, North Dakota is just looking to get into the market, and to garner interest, its House Bill 1089 has already passed its House of Representatives. Its bill provides a sales tax exemption for equipment and software used by a qualifying data center – of which it currently has none.

Revenues are Up

Sales tax isn’t always bad news – two locales are reporting positive results for overall sales tax revenues. Columbus, Mississippi had anticipated a $300,000 budget deficit last year, but sales tax revenues are up by more than $176,000, six months into the city’s fiscal year. Likewise, Colorado Springs, Colorado is also reporting good news – a 7.5% increase in sales tax revenues for 2014 over the previous year. That’s the largest hike in a decade for the tourist town. The boon is attributed to better jobs and improved consumer outlook, as well as tourism generated by the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August.

Alabama’s Sales Tax Holiday

The weekend of February 20-22 saw extreme weather condition in Alabama, but that didn’t stop the state’s emergency preparedness sales tax holiday weekend – if anything, it punctuated the need for citizens to stock items needed in case of emergencies. The holiday waives sales tax on items including batteries, flashlights, smoke detectors, lanterns, and first-aid kits. A complete list can be found at http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/WPHolidayQuickRefSheet15.pdf.