Huntsville, Decatur mayors request state data for online sales tax

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle is one of several Alabama mayors asking the state of Alabama to explain its online sales tax.

“We’re looking for the data,” Battle said. “SSUT tax, which is sales on the internet, is something we want to understand. There’s more of it coming into the state every year, and we need to understand where it’s coming from, and also for the protection of the citizens of Alabama.”

Officials say when you shop at a store in Alabama, you normally see a four percent sales tax, but when you shop online, the rate is eight percent.

Mayor Battle and Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said their cities get a portion of that sales tax money but there is not any data that shows if each city is really getting its fair share.

“We want to find out what’s actually being spent within our jurisdiction,” Bowling said. “We receive our sales and use online tax based on our population, as opposed to what we actually purchase in the city. It’s just something that we’d like to know.”

Both mayors say the best way to create transparency is for the state to release data about the usage of the online sales tax revenue. Ultimately, they believe state data would at least answer their many questions.

“Are we taxing it properly,” Battle asked. “Are we taxing it the same way we tax our bricks and mortars places?”

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