Selma sales taxes on track

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

On Nov. 24, Selma Finance Director Cynthia Mitchell said she didn’t know where the city’s money was. Things have changed.

That’s a change from the Selma City Council’s Nov. 24 meeting. At that meeting, Mitchell said about $700,000 to $800,000 is received each month in sales tax. Selma had only netted $213,000 for November when Mitchell addressed the council.

Mitchell said the discrepancy likely occurred because the city recently switched its tax collecting agencies from the state of Alabama to AlaTax, a private company.

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Pete Yonce, director of business development with AlaTax, echoed Mitchell’s prognostication on Monday. &uot;This is not unusual,&uot; Yonce said. &uot;When we take over a jurisdiction there can be some confusion. I understand why the city was alarmed.&uot;

Yonce said that taxpayers send their sales tax to a number of different entities when a government has switched from the state to his company. Confusion leads some to continue sending payments to the state while others send it to the local government. Still others send their sales tax to AlaTax.

According to Yonce, AlaTax began collecting Selma’s sales tax in October, but the first payments weren’t due until Nov. 20.

Councilman Glenn Sexton, who introduced the idea of switching to AlaTax to the council, pointed to the payment date as one reason for the negative Nov. 24 report to the council.

Yonce said he expected the discrepancies to disappear in about two months, though it might not take that long since AlaTax already collects Dallas County’s sales tax. Since Selma businesses already pay county sales tax to AlaTax, switching from the state to AlaTax for the city’s sales tax isn’t completely new.

Concerning Selma’s sales tax revenue, no drastic changes have occurred. Yonce said it’s possible his company could collect more than the state, but couldn’t place a dollar amount on any extra collections. &uot;Because AlaTax has a fully staffed, competent compliance department, you can be assured that we will pursue delinquent and other non-compliant businesses in the manner that has resulted in our becoming the preferred local tax collection and administration organization in the state,&uot; Yonce said.