The West Virginia State Tax Department released new guidance, TSD-445, that clarified that streaming services are subject to sales and use tax in the state. The Department’s guidance distinguishes streaming services from digital products, which are specifically exempted under the law. The Department explains that streaming services are subject to a 6% state sales and use tax, in addition to up to 1% in municipal sales and use tax if applicable, because West Virginia taxes all services unless a specific exception or exemption applies.
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.