Sales Tax

The Brian Lehrer Show

The Online Sales Tax Debate

Friday, May 10, 2013

Congress is debating whether to change the way sales taxes work for online purchases.  Jodi Schneider, Bloomberg News Congress editor, discusses the bill and who would win and lose. Business owners: What's your take on online sales tax? How would this bill affect your bottom line? Your customers'? Call 212-433-9692 or post your take here.

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The Takeaway

Senate to Vote on Internet Sales Tax

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Whether you know it or not, you have a legal obligation to claim any out-of-state purchases made online on your state tax return. A bill being voted on today would change that, and make it so that all online purchases are subject to state and local taxes. 

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Transportation Nation

NYC DOT Study: Street Redesign Good for the Economy

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Union Square's pedestrian plaza (photo by Kate Hinds)

New York City's Department of Transportation says redesigned streets have been very, very good to small businesses.

A new report says that retail sales are up along city streets that have bike paths, pedestrian plazas, slow zones, or select bus service.

In some cases, the increase is dramatic: on Brooklyn's Pearl Street, where the DOT maintains retail sales have increased by 172 percent since a parking triangle was turned into a pedestrian plaza.

In Measuring the Street, the DOT lays out metrics for evaluating street redesign projects. These include benchmarks like injuries, traffic speed and volume. And now it includes retail sales data along redesigned routes.

The report casts the city's street redesign in a favorable light just as hundreds of planners descend on the city for the Designing Cities conference, happening this week at New York University.

"For the first time, we have years of retail sales that were reported to the Department of Finance, and we were able to look at that data and apply it directly to the SBS corridors, the bike lane projects, etc.," said DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Sadik-Khan ticked off a list of streets that she said economically benefited from being overhauled.

"On Fordham Road [in the Bronx], we saw the growth in the retail sales by local businesses -- and these are not chain stores -- grow 71 percent following the introduction of the SBS route there in 2008, which is three times the borough-wide growth rate."

The report says that along Ninth Avenue, retail sales are up 49 percent -- sixteen times the borough growth rate -- three years after that street's protected bike lane went in. Manhattan's Union Square, which was revamped in 2010, reports a lower commercial vacancy rate.

Sadik-Khan said the reason for increased sales is straightforward: if you build it, the people will come.

And presumably those people have wallets.

"We've seen anywhere between a 10 to 15 percent increase in ridership on all the SBS bus routes," Sadik-Khan said, "amid a citywide decline of 5 percent on bus routes."  She said more riders along a route means more people getting on and off the bus, which means more foot traffic.

The DOT looked at sales tax records reported to the city's Department of Finance. The data excludes large chain stores and non-retail businesses.




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NY Shoppers Get Sales Tax Break

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Starting Sunday, New York shoppers will get a tax break.


The Empire

Comptroller DiNapoli: higher sales tax receipts not a big step in the right direction

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has a new report out this morning on sales tax receipts from around the state. The good news is that sales taxes are bringing in more money, especially for local governments.

But as seems to be his want, DiNapoli cautioned yet again that what looks like a step in the right direction should be seen as a baby one--if that.

“The positive growth last year in sales tax collections are a good sign for the economy, but continued caution is warranted,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “New York’s economy has improved over the past two years, but growth has been sluggish and unevenly distributed throughout the state. The degree to which local governments depend on sales taxes varies, but it is an important source of revenue for many. As localities adjust to the property tax cap, more may turn to sales tax revenues to fill in budget gaps.”

Sales tax receipts were up just over 4 percent outside of the city, and just over 6 percent in New York City, from 2010 to 2011.

The Comptroller's office pointed out the significant spending that occurred after the tropical storms that ripped through the state last year as a driver for spending and thus taxes. The city upped its sales tax and started collecting taxes on clothing purchases over $110, according to the Comptroller's office, which help account for the jump there.

To illustrate the uneveness of the tax receipts the report pointed this out:

The strongest growth was in the Southern Tier where purchases of goods and services to rebuild and repair damage caused by Tropical Storm Lee drove an 8.6 percent increase. The weakest growth was on Long Island with a 2.4 percent increase.

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State Lowers Bar on Sales Tax Exemption for Clothing and Shoes

Friday, March 18, 2011

A sales tax exemption on clothing and shoes is coming back to New York State — but only for some items.

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New Yorkers Spending: Sales Tax Collections Increase

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Higher sales taxes this year are not deterring shoppers in New York City. State comptroller Tom DiNapoli says sales tax collections increased 20.6 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same time a year ago. During the first nine months of 2009, sales tax collections fell 11.4 percent.