Sales tax up this year compared to last

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Three years after transferring away from Revenue Discovery Systems for tax collection, the city of Selma has reversed that decision.

In 2013, the city swapped from RDS to the Alabama Department of Revenue for tax collection, citing a $300,000 sales tax shortage at the time. In April, the city council voted to move back to RDS.

“We went back to RDS because RDS gave the more detailed report monthly on the results of the tax being paid by a company or business,” said Mayor George Evans. “Alabama had not been giving us that data. RDS has made some modifications on what they didn’t do when we were with them initially.”

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Even with the change, sales tax numbers are actually up this fiscal year when compared to 2015. Since October, the city has collected $6,651,126.76, which is up by $54,207.55. The city collected thousands more in sales tax in February, March and April of this year than in 2015.

In May — the last month reported — the city brought in $17,771.58 less than last year, but that’s the only down month in 2016 thus far.

Although sales tax is up, the lodging tax is down when compared to 2015. The city had collected $41,120.30 less than last fiscal year through May.

Selma’s tobacco tax has also shown a major fluctuation this year. The city has collected $157,004.58, which is $42,134.50 off the pace set last year.

“Any tax whenever there’s a shortfall, it’s a concern,” said city council president Corey Bowie. “As far as the lodging tax and even with the sales tax, it’s a constant thing that we try to harp on to try to recoup as much tax dollars as we can. With the lodging tax, there are some concerns … but hopefully with RDS we can come up with something to get to the root of the problem.”