WASILLA — With nearly a year of compiled data after the creation of the Alaska Online Sales Tax Commission and remittance of online sales taxes to local municipalities, the city of Wasilla passed two ordinances at their Sept. 14 meeting pertaining to the remittance and collection of sales tax from remote sellers.
Ordinance 20-30 appropriated $39,430 of CARES grant funds to purchase the Muni Revs automated licensing and sales tax system. Finance Director Troy Tankersly said that as the coronavirus pandemic shut down local businesses and shut residents in, many asked why an online method of remitting taxes was not already available. The Muni Revs tax system provides a centralized source for data collection on sales taxes that the city of Wasilla could not functionally provide on their own. As a part of the Alaska Municipal League online sales tax commission, Muni Revs and TTR, a mapping company, provide services for the centralized collection of sales taxes in Alaskan cities nearly two years after the Wayfair v. South Dakota Supreme Court Decision. Ordinance 20-30 passed 4-1 with Councilman Tim Burney as the lone ‘no’ vote to purchase Muni Revs.
Ordinance 20-031 passed unanimously, allowing for a $150,000 expenditure for the administrative expenses of collecting online sales taxes. Tankersly provided revenue reports from March to June of 2020, providing $62,896 in additional revenues to the city of Wasilla with an estimated yearly revenue of $750,000.
“We’re still on the ground floor trying to build it up and now we’re getting some idea of what that is and so now I need to come forward to council and ask for an appropriation to offset these expenditures that the city is absorbing,” said Tankersly. “We are not proposing that we’re writing a check for $150,000, it just is an accounting entry that I have to make to recognize these administrative expenditures but I need the budget costs to approve that.”
Tankersly said that as more Alaskan communities become a part of the remote seller sales tax commission, the administrative costs per municipality will decrease.
“The fees that the city pays to have the remote system is absorbed as a share amongst all municipalities. Each municipality that enters the system pays their share based on their gross revenues received through that system,” said Tankersly.