Shopping is different during this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the town of Buena Vista sales tax figures for July demonstrate that reality. But pandemic or not, sales tax revenue grew; Buena Vista continues to post solid sales tax figures for the summer, and July 2020 has outpaced July 2019 in overall numbers. But at the same time, the town is continuing the trend where remote sales account for an increasing amount of the activity – meaning that sales from local businesses are accounting for less.
According to the most recently released town figures, July sales tax weighs in at a total of $436,263. The increase in July 2020 over July 2019 is 8.86 percent and is over the July 2020 budget by 4.67 percent.
The January-July 2020 totals have increased over the same period in 2019 by 17.56 percent, translating into an increase of $327,094. The increase over 2020 budget for the same period is recorded at 13.04 percent, or a positive variance of $124,839.
According to town treasurer Michelle Stoke, the breakdown of July sales tax between local sales and remote sales is 86 percent, or $301,877 for local businesses and 14 percent, or $47,849 for remote sellers.
In July 2019, local sales tax accounted for $307,129 while remote tax collected was $29,646.
A remote seller relates to businesses that make sales to someone who lives in Buena Vista, but doesn’t have a physical presence in town. For example, if someone orders something from Home Depot online, and because there isn’t a Home Depot in Buena Vista, Home Depot is required to collect and remit sales taxes to the town.
The remote seller issue came about in Wayfair v South Dakota, with the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that sales tax must be remitted to the taxing jurisdiction of the purchaser in the case of online purchases. In response, Colorado passed legislation that said a remote seller was an entity that did not have a “brick and mortar” store in Colorado and was required to remit sales tax to Colorado.
Graphs can be found on Town’s new Transparency website at https://www.cleargov.com/colorado/chaffee/town/buena-vista/departments/610/sales-tax-receipts