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Highland Haven sending internet purchase sales tax to voters

Highland Haven sales tax measure on ballot

Though Highland Haven doesn’t have any retail stores, the Board of Alders will send a sales-tax initiative to voters in November. If approved, the lakeside city would collect sales taxes on internet purchases. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Highland Haven voters will see a measure to implement a sales tax on the Nov. 3 ballot. This might seem strange for a community with so few businesses, but the 2-cent tax would be drawn largely from transactions with internet retailers.

“It really won’t affect much because we have no businesses to speak of, but what comes to mind is the Amazon-type activities that are going on,” said Mayor Olan Kelley about purchases from the giant online retailer and similar businesses. 

The Board of Alders discussed the proposition during its July 21 meeting. 

The state of Texas assesses a 6.25-percent sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases, and rentals as well as certain services. Local entities such as cities can impose up to a 2-percent sales and use tax for a total rate of 8.25 percent. 

A city must have a local sales tax enacted before the state can collect it on its behalf from both local and online businesses.  

In the same way a sales tax is imposed at any business in which you would spend your dollars locally, an online retailer is responsible for collecting the sales tax and sending it to the state comptroller on a monthly basis. The comptroller then disperses the 2-cent city-imposed tax back to the local municipalities where it was assessed.

At present, the city of Highland Haven, in Burnet County, has one of the lowest property tax rates in the area at 12.21 cents per $100 valuation.

“The city is very proud of that, and they want to maintain the low tax rate as much as they can and maintain the business that we have in hand,” Kelley said.

It’s unclear how much money the city would net from the new tax.

“We’re not going to get rich over the whole thing,” he said. “It’s not going to be a huge revenue generator. We’re a small community, so every little bit counts.”

The next Highland Haven Board of Alders meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at the Highland Haven Community Center, 118 Blackbird Drive.

1 thought on “Highland Haven sending internet purchase sales tax to voters

  1. Just curious. How would a Highland Haven collect an online sales tax?? How would someone even know when one of their property-owners makes an online purchase???
    Sounds like a potentially invasive process.

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