2020 Midyear Sales Tax Results - City Level Taxes Spike in Q2

The final Sales Tax Rates and Rules Report for the first half of 2020 is now available.

The final Sales Tax Rates and Rules Report for the first half of 2020 that I previewed in June is now available.

As I mentioned in my preview, sales tax rates at the city level are on track to register the highest number of changes in more than 10 years. The vast majority of these modifications were sales tax rate increases. With more than two-thirds of the 150 city sales tax rate changes occurring in the second quarter, is it possible that a fair number of the changes were made in response to COVID-19’s damaging economic impacts?

Although cities have been active, all remains quiet on the state rate change front, for now. The fact that there weren’t any state sales tax changes from January through June 30 also may be related to COVID, given that many state legislatures postponed or suspended their sessions earlier this year during the pandemic’s initial spread. However, with state sales tax budget deficits as of June 30 now being reported out, will the second half of the year bring a different level of activity?

As always, Vertex’s Tax Research Team continues to monitor sales tax rates and rules changes on a daily basis at the state and local levels.

With respect to the rest of the world, we’ve recently seen European Union countries greatly accelerate traditional processes for enacting value added tax (VAT) rate and policy changes in response to COVID, and we’re prepared to respond should U.S. jurisdictions follow suit. We’re monitoring the growing number of reports mentioned above concerning COVID-related budget deficits at the state and city level, as they may be early indicators of future sales tax rate changes to come. Regardless of what occurs, we’ll keep you accurately informed in a timely manner.

Blog Author

Bernadette Pinamont: Vice President of Tax Research at Vertex Inc. Vertex delivers the world’s most valued tax solutions for companies to connect, transact, and comply while growing their business.

Bernadette Pinamont

Tax Executive

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Bernadette Pinamont is Vice President of Tax Research responsible for leading a global team of 85 tax professionals who contribute subject matter and technical expertise to build and maintain content for all products, powering millions of effective tax rate determinations for customers in over 19,000 global jurisdictions.

Prior to joining Vertex, Bernadette was Vice President of Tax for Endo Pharmaceuticals. Bernadette's 30 plus year tax career also includes the corporate tax departments of AstraZeneca, DuPont, Syngenta, Tyco Toys, and, initially, EY. When Bernadette joined Vertex in 2013, she was a thought leader in the Chief Tax Office and engaged both industry and clients on the trends, patterns, and emerging solutions to address the global challenges associated with regulatory compliance and tax technology.

Bernadette regularly speaks at local and industry events about tax and the importance of technology, including the annual International Tax Review’s (ITR) Women in Tax Forum. She leads the Philadelphia Women’s Tax Network and is a graduate of Seton Hall University, from which she earned both a B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude, and her Juris Doctor. Bernadette is also a licensed attorney and a CPA.

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