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April 2, 2019

How to collect the new Unincorporated Area sales and use tax in California?

California New Sales and Use Tax Effective April 1, 2019

When we were thinking CA sales tax couldn’t get any more complicated, we were wrong!

For the first time ever, California now has a new district sales and use tax that only applies to an un-incorporated area within a county. Voters in County of Santa Cruz has approved a “Santa Cruz County Unincorporated Area Transactions and Use Tax” for 0.50% operative April 1, 2019. Voters in Yuba County also approved a same tax named “Yuba County Unincorporated Area Transactions and Use Tax” for 1% however this one is subject to pending litigation. Such tax only applies to areas that are not within an incorporated cities. It does not affect the rate that applies in incorporated cities within the these counties either.

Some people are confused about this un-incorporated tax with the county-wide tax. County-wide tax applies to every address within the county. The un-incorporated tax is only for areas that are not within the boundaries of any incorporated cities within the county.  We consider this “un-incorported tax” as a special district tax because it is not a county-wide tax. Neither it is an incorporated city tax because these un-incorporated areas are not within any incorporated city.

So how to determine if an address is in an incorporated city or not?

The only way to accurately determine it is to find out if such address is within the incorporated city boundary. Incorporated city is also called Municipality. USgeocoder has the incorporated city boundaries for the entire US. When you send an address to our geocoder, it first tries to geocode the address and find out where this address is located on the map, then by querying the incorporated city mapping database, We know exactly whether the address falls in a particular incorporated city boundary or not. If you want to know more about how to find the municipality by address, here is another blog article explains it in full details with real life examples.

For an address you have, mostly of the time it’s a mailing address issued by US Postal Office. The city in the address could be a mailing city only, which has nothing to do with incorporated city. So the “City” name in your address might not necessary be the name of its municipality. Usgeocoder uses street address and a five digit zip code to determine the municipality of an address. If it’s in a particular municipality, it provides the name of the municipality; If it’s not in a particular municipality, it will provide “Unincorporated” as the value for the given address.

Sometime every address within a mailing city is in un-incorpoted area, for example, addresses in city of Aptos in Santa Cruz county are all in un-incorporated areas. However for the incorporated city of Santa Cruz, some areas within Santa Cruz city are outside of the incorporated city boundary. They are just having Santa Cruz as a mailing city for US Postal Office mail person to deliver mail to. For these un-incorporated areas with “Santa Cruz” as their mailing city, there is no other way but using geocoding technology to find out whether they are within the incorporated city limit or not.

How to correctly calculate sales and use tax rate?

USgeocoder API offers realtime sales tax rate for every address in California. The formula we use is statewide tax rate + countywide tax rate + incorporated citywide tax rate + special district tax rate. You can take a test drive with our live demo by entering a California street address and zip code, press “Free Lookup” and see the sales and use tax rate information for the input address.

Click here to learn more about how to correctly calculate the California Sales Tax Rate Using Geo-based technology.

December 11, 2018

116th Congressional District Changes

116th Congressional Districts vs. 115th Congressional Districts

The 115th United States Congress is in its last month. The new 116th Congress will be in session starting January 1/3/2019. The only change in congressional districts is in the state of Pennsylvania.

On February 19, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new congressional map, to take effect for the May 15, 2018, primaries. The districts in the Court’s map were significantly more compact, and its map split fewer municipalities and counties than the prior Republican-drawn map. Click here to learn more. This new congressional map will be used for 116th congress for the state of Pennsylvania.

We recently did a project for a customer to match the 5 digit zip codes in the state of Pennsylvania to their new 116th congressional districts. We learned that among 2140 zip codes, only 50 zip codes in the following congressional districts have the same congressional districts as before. The rest of PA’s zip codes are now in different congressional districts.

  • 16 zip codes in congressional district 18
  • 32 zip codes in congressional district 6
  • 2 zip codes in congressional district 2

You can see it’s essential to refresh your address file for the 116th congressional district for the state of PA. For those who do the annual refresh, the district data is available now. The newly elected Congress members will be in place near or on January 03, 2019. By mid February 2019, our database should be updated with the new committee assignments made in January.

What Can We Do To Update Your Data for 116th Congressional Districts

  1. Provide the data via batch processing, available now! All you need to do is to send us the address file with the street address and 5 digit zip codes in csv or excel, we will batch process the entire file by geocoding each address, identifying its 116th congressional districts, appending the district name for each address and sending the result file back to you.
  2. Starting January 3, 2019, we will be providing the real time 116th congressional districts via live API by default. If you need the information earlier via API, we can also make it happen for you.
  3. Our batch service and API service provide the congressional district data by address, which is more accurate than the zip code-based matching for congressional districts. However if you are looking for zip5-to-116th congressional district and zip9-to-116th congressional district data files, we can also provide them.

Got more questions? Please call us at 1.888.938.6732,  send us a web inquiry or come to our live chat room!