This week, Governor Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 792 (Glazer), which would have required large online retailers to include with their sales tax returns an additional schedule that reports gross receipts based on the “ship to” or destination location. The bill targeted online retailers with over $50 million in annual sales of tangible personal property. Qualifying online retailers that failed to report this information would have been subject to a penalty of $5,000.
California imposes a statewide sales tax on retailers for the privilege of selling tangible personal property at retail within the state, measured by the gross receipts from each sale. An additional sales tax of 1.25% (the Bradley-Burns Tax) is imposed on sales subject to the statewide sales tax, of which 1% is allocated to localities to use at their discretion and the remainder is distributed to county local transportation funds to support transportation programs. Continue Reading ›
California’s Court of Appeal again held that a special tax measure placed on the local ballot as a citizen initiative required only a simple majority, not a supermajority, vote to pass.
Proposition G is a school parcel tax initiative that passed on San Francisco’s June 2018 ballot with 60.76% of the vote. The Proposition G school parcel tax is a special tax—in other words, the expenditure of its revenues is dedicated to a specific project or projects—and not a general tax, which revenues roll into the locality’s general fund. Here, the Proposition G school parcel tax funds are earmarked for educators’ salaries, staffing, professional development, technology, charter schools, and oversight of funding.
California’s Court of Appeal held a local sales tax ordinance (Measure K) was a general tax, not a special tax, and therefore its adoption did not require a two-thirds vote (supermajority) under California’s Constitution. A tax is “special” and therefore would require a two-thirds vote, when the expenditure of its revenues is dedicated to a specific project or projects. The plaintiffs argued that Measure K was a special tax because the funds were earmarked for the funding of the county’s public safety services and essential services. The Court of Appeal disagreed, concluding tax proceeds that are deposited in a separate account for unspecified “other essential services” could be used for any and all government services that qualify as an “essential service” and are therefore not dedicated to a specific project or purpose, indicative of a general tax. Thus, the court held Measure K was valid.
On February 15, 2021, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision in Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. v. Director, Department of Finance of Baltimore City, Case No. 24-C-18-001778 (Md. 2021), upholding the constitutionality of a local ordinance that imposes an annual excise tax on businesses selling advertising space on off-site billboards. The tax in question applies only to businesses that own or control off-site billboards in the City of Baltimore i.e., billboards that are not located on the premises where the goods or services being advertised are offered for sale. Continue Reading ›
In 731 Market Street Owner LLC v. City and County of San Francisco (June 18, 2020), California appellate court affirms that local realty transfer tax does not apply when leasehold has a remaining term of 35 years or more. SeeSALT authors Craig Becker, Breann Robowski, Richard Nielsen, and Robert Merten III explain.
Read the full article here.
A San Francisco trial court judge has ruled that Proposition G, a parcel tax to fund educational purposes that passed with a 60.76% vote in 2018, is a valid voter initiative that did not require a two-thirds supermajority vote like local special taxes introduced by mayors or local boards of supervisors. The same deciding judge already issued a pair of rulings in favor of San Francisco last July on similar supermajority vote validity-challenging actions concerning San Francisco’s Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax and Early Care and Education Commercial Rents Tax. Both previous rulings are currently under separate appeals in the First District Court of Appeal.