State Sales Tax Jurisdictions Approach 10,000

A number of states are calling on Congress to authorize them to collect sales taxes on interstate Internet transactions, including at a congressional hearing early this month. The states claim that they have simplified their sales tax systems so that compliance is no longer burdensome.

The growing number of sales tax jurisdictions, as reported by the tax software company Vertex, suggests the states have more simplification work to do. There are now 9,998 different sales tax jurisdictions in the United States, up more than 300 when Vertex last reported the figure in 2011.

The number of jurisdictions vary widely by state. New Jersey, despite a plethora of local governments, has just two jurisdictions – statewide and areas bordering Delaware. Texas by contrast, despite endorsing congressional action while itself declined to adopt uniform tax definitions or other sales tax reforms, has over 1,500 different sales tax jurisdictions.

Certainly, number of jurisdictions isn't everything. We have put together a chart of essential simplifications in a federal online sales tax bill, including unified audits, uniform bases and definitions, notice of rate and base changes, liability waivers, and federal court jurisdiction. No matter how it’s measured, states haven’t yet fulfilled their promises to simplify their sales taxes.

State

Total Sales Tax Jurisdictions, 2014

Alabama

791

Alaska

103

Arizona

131

Arkansas

370

California

231

Colorado

307

Connecticut

1

District of Columbia

1

Florida

56

Georgia

162

Guam

1

Hawaii

2

Idaho

9

Illinois

443

Indiana

1

Iowa

994

Kansas

428

Kentucky

1

Louisiana

341

Maine

1

Maryland

1

Massachusetts

1

Michigan

1

Minnesota

35

Mississippi

3

Missouri

1242

Nebraska

209

Nevada

18

New Jersey

2

New Mexico

142

New York

84

North Carolina

105

North Dakota

137

Ohio

96

Oklahoma

587

Pennsylvania

3

Puerto Rico

79

Rhode Island

1

South Carolina

41

South Dakota

251

Tennessee

125

Texas

1515

Utah

310

Vermont

12

Virginia

174

Washington

346

West Virginia

11

Wisconsin

70

Wyoming

23

TOTALS

9998

Source: Vertex, Inc.


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