Why “Sales Tax by City” does not work well in New York State
April 8, 2020
April 8, 2020
City Sales Tax and Special District Sales Tax Only Apply to Incorporated Cities, Not Mailing Cities
State and local governments impose sales tax. New York State has 62 counties. At municipality level, it has 62 incorporated cities, 932 town and 534 village in its local governments. There is no un-incorporated area in New York State.
Per Department of State of New York (https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/localgovs.html):
Every citizen in New York State that does not live in a city lives in both a town and a county.
Villages in New York State must exist within a town. Every citizen in New York State that lives in a village lives in 3 different municipalities: a village, a town and a county.
However in New York State, only counties and the following 18 incorporated cities have sales tax. Currently the 0.375% Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District sales tax only applies to certain counties and incorporated cities.
- New York City
- Olean City
- Salamanca City
- Auburn City
- Norwich City
- Gloversville City
- Johnstown City
- Oneida City
- Rome City
- Utica City
- Oswego City
- Saratoga Springs City
- Ithaca City
- Glens Falls City
- Mount Vernon City
- New Rochelle City
- White Plains City
- Yonkers City
Mailing cities might not be the same as its incorporated cities.
Majority of the time, the address for your home is a mailing address.
For example, for address 94-20 Guy R Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11451. From this address, Jamaica is the city. Because Jamaica is not included in the above list, it might be mistaken that it does not have city sales tax. However Jamaica is only its mailing city, which has different boundaries that incorporated cities. The incorporated city for this address is New York City which has city sales tax and special Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District sales tax.
You can learn more about mailing address from this blog post: Physical Address vs. Mailing address and when it matters.
Incorporated City Rates Do Not Apply to Towns.
In New York, Department of Taxation and Finance requires businesses use “Reporting Code” for filing tax returns. Here is a screenshot of the page 2 of the quarterly tax return form 420. You can see the Jurisdiction Code in Column B. (https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/st/st100.pdf). This jurisdiction code is a tax code used for reporting purpose.
The Jurisdiction codes are listed on the New York State Sales and Use Tax Rates by Jurisdiction sheet provide by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/publications/sales/pub718.pdf
However the following 6 towns have a city of same name exists in the same county. The address located in the same name city has a different tax code than the address located in the same name town.
- Olean town and city in Cattaraugus County
- Salamanca town and city in Cattaraugus County
- Norwich town and city in Chenango County
- Johnstown town and city in Fulton County
- Oswego town and city in Oswego County
- Ithaca town and city in Thompkins County
For example, the following two addresses are in Cattaraugus county. However one address is in Olean city and the other one is in Olean town.
Address 146 N Union St, Olean, NY 14760 is located in Olean city. Its tax reporting code should be 0441. Below is the result provided by New York Department of Taxation and Finance:
Address 1456 Indiana Ave, Olean, NY 14760 is located in Olean town. It is not located in Olean city. So the sales should be allocated to the code 0481 that is used for Cattaraugus. Here is the result provided byNew York Department of Taxation and Finance:
These two addresses are only 1.7 miles away from each other. It’s impossible to identify if an address is in a town or a city when the two mailing addresses have identical mailing city names.
The only way to allocate to correct tax codes for these 6 cities is by using a geocoder such as USgeocoder that has the ability to identify if an address is in a city or a town.
When it comes to calculate sales tax for New York state, USgeocoder first geocodes the input address to get its latitude and longitude, then identify its county and municipality (whether the address is located in an incorporated city, town or village) by mapping to USgeocoder’s own GIS layers, and lastly produces its correct tax rates and tax reporting code.
To lookup sales tax rates and tax codes for particular addresses in New York State, you can use USgeocoder’s free online tool at https://usgeocoder.com/api_live_demo. Just enter your street address and the zip code, then click on the “Free Lookup” button. After that a new page opens, click on the “SALES AND USE TAX RATES” tab for its rates information. You can also find out its tax code and break-down of sales tax totals and district tax information by click on “View Sales and Use Tax Detail” link.
This is the detail information USgeocoder produces for the address 146 N Union St, Olean, NY 14760 from its live demo.
USgeocoder makes this live demo available to the public to showcase its geocoding sales tax data capability. You can use it to lookup sales tax rates, tax codes and taxing jurisdiction information one address at a time. If you are looking for the same information for your own application, try USgeocoder API. It produces all the information you see from the live demo.
If you have a large number of addresses , and would like to save time on doing it manually one address at a time using the live demo, USgeocoder can do it for you through its batch processing service.
To learn more about New York sales tax rates, Wayfair implementation for internet sellers, check out this blog posting: New York Sales Tax Fact Sheet.
To find out how sales tax works in other states, check out other postings by USgeocoder: https://blog.usgeocoder.com/category/sales-use-tax/. You can also contact USgeocoder by phone: (888) 938-6732, by clicking on the “live chat” on the right borrom of each web page https://www.usgeocoder.com/, or by filling out a webform on: https://www.usgeocoder.com/contact_us.