Some Carson businesses still charging 7 percent sales tax
Appeal Staff Writer
Some consumers may have paid a few dollars less than they should have for purchases made last weekend.
Many Carson City businesses did not know that sales tax increased an eighth of a cent Saturday and did not collect the extra amount from consumers. Those who bought a $20,000 car saved about $25. Those who bought an $8 breakfast at a local café saved 1 cent. If you purchased a $50 pair of shoes you saved 6 cents.
The one who will pay for it: the business.
Carson City’s sales tax increased from 7 percent to 7.125 percent with little fanfare. Businesses that were keeping up with tax news made the change. Those that weren’t will have to pay out of pocket for the amount they didn’t collect from customers. Local businesses could be out thousands of dollars, said the executive director of the chamber of commerce.
Many business owners – from car dealers to florists – reported that they were not informed about the change. The executive director of the Nevada Department of Taxation says differently.
Dino DiCianno, taxation department executive director, said ample notification was provided to Carson City business owners.
“Not only did we put this on returns in advance, we had information on our Web site,” he said. “We sent it out with our tax notes well in advance of the rate going into effect.”
The increase was approved by city supervisors in November to raise $15 million for the reconstruction of the historic Virginia & Truckee Railway. The tourist track is expected to operate between Carson City and Virginia City by 2010.
Through an interlocal agreement, all Carson City sales taxes are administered and collected by the state department of taxation.
Carson Jewelry & Loan made the change on Saturday, as did Valley Chevrolet Pontiac.
Jeff Woodward, owner of Carson Jeep Nissan, was surprised Tuesday when he heard that the increase went into affect this weekend.
“An 1/8 percent sales tax increase can be a fairly significant amount,” he said.
A consumer will now spend $1,425 on sales tax for a $20,000 automobile.
“Notification was a problem here,” said Ronni Hannaman, executive director of the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce, who fielded 10 calls from concerned businesses on Tuesday. “Just putting it on page 3 or 4 of the Nevada Tax Notes is not enough.”
Joy Hartman, owner of Eclectic Clay, was told Tuesday morning by one of her customers that sales tax increased.
“I had no idea,” said the pottery studio owner. “I’m glad I found out now.”
Small-business owners who catch the oversight this week won’t owe that much out of their own pockets by the end of the month, when businesses turn sales tax revenue over to the state.
A customer who purchased a pair of $50 shoes this weekend at Gotchy Family Shoes paid 6 cents less in sales tax than they should have.
“I think I can cover it,” said James Gotchy, who was still collecting 7 percent on Tuesday.
One day of sales at the Hitchin’ Post Western Store added up to about $2,200, so owner Sonya Schuler will pay about $2.75 out of her own pocket to cover the amount of taxes she didn’t collect from customers.
“Those darn guys,” she said about the state tax department. “I don’t think they keep us very well informed. They should’ve put the new tax charts in the mail. I haven’t gotten them.”
Jerry Massad, owner of The Cracker Box, said the sales tax revenue he didn’t collect this weekend from customers amounts to the cost of a 12-pack of beer.
“I did notice today when looking through Nevada Tax Notes, it was written on page 3 or 4,” he said. “Not the front page, not the second page. And it’s written in little tiny print.”
The increase in the cost of a dozen roses from Carson City Florist – 8 cents – won’t be that much for customers. But it would’ve been a hefty amount to owner Tom Jones if he didn’t catch the problem on Tuesday. After 50 customers that’s $4 out of his pocket.
“If I didn’t read my memos from the state of Nevada, that’s my lack of planning and stupidity,” he said. “But I’m on the phone with them now to fix the problem.”
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.