Albany County could see a check from the sales tax collected for online sales as soon as April, the Wyoming Department of Revenue Director Dan Noble said.
House Enrolled Act 41, formerly House Bill 19, requires sellers without a physical presence in the state such as Amazon to remit sales tax after grossing $100,000 a year on transactions in Wyoming or completing 200 transactions in which personal property, admissions or services were delivered into the state.
The legislation was signed by Gov. Matt Mead on March 6.
“Once you’ve reached that threshold, you license with us and start collecting that tax,” Noble said.
He said the sales tax for the purchase is determined by the shipping address. An item purchased on a computer in Cheyenne and delivered to an address in Laramie would be charged sales tax according to Laramie statutes.
If the item purchased is digital media, he said the buyer would be charged sales tax according to the billing address registered with their payment method.
Once the sales tax is collected, the Wyoming Department of Revenue sends a check for the collected amount to the municipality or county, Noble said.
“The sales tax the city collects is used to support municipal operations,” Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan said. “Anything that helps that collection keep up with inflation is going to be good for the city.”
Sales tax is the second largest source of income for Laramie, and Jordan said it has not increased from the level it was during 2006.
“Any increase in sales tax (collection) is going to help us sustain the current level of services,” Jordan said.
Currently, the state averages about $2 million a year in streamline sales tax collection, or the category tax collected from remote sellers would fall under, Noble said.
“I would hope it would increase,” he said. “Amazon is a pretty big company.”
While the legislation dictates a seller does not have to remit sales tax until they reach the threshold, Noble said Amazon volunteered to start remitting March 1.
“Amazon began negotiation with us before this bill was even introduced,” he said. “They have been voluntarily collecting throughout the states.”
While customers might have noticed sales tax being applied to purchases directly from Amazon, Noble said the agreement was with Amazon alone. A purchase made on Amazon.com but from a company separate from Amazon might not include a sales tax charge unless that company reached the threshold determined by HEA 41 or the company volunteered to register with the Wyoming Department of Revenue.
As sales are reported monthly, Noble said Albany County should receive a check for March’s sales tax collections by the end of April.