Municipal Sales & Use Taxes

Phoenix Privilege Tax Lawyer Stephen C. Newmark

Dealing successfully with Arizona municipal sales & use taxes requires the time and advice of a skilled tax attorney.

Most Arizona cities and towns impose business privilege (sales) taxes on individuals, corporations, limited liability companies and other entities that conduct a business, game or amusement, calling, profession or occupation within the municipality.

The state legislature has authority to determine what municipalities can and cannot tax. The legislature requires each city and town that imposes a transaction privilege or similar tax to adopt the Model City Tax Code. The MCTC provides a complete ordinance imposing a local business privilege (sales) tax but offers numerous options (including whether to impose a municipal use tax) a governing council may or may not adopt. As a result, a taxpayer doing business in more than one municipality must know and apply what each council has decided to tax.

There are significant differences between the tax laws of the State and the tax laws of the various cities and towns. A taxpayer that does not obtain expert advice in advance on what’s taxable and what’s not taxable incurs needless risk. For example:

• The State does not tax the sale of food for home consumption, but many municipalities do.

• The State does not tax residential rentals, but many municipalities do.

• The State and municipalities tax real estate developers differently.

• Although the State does not tax the in-state sale of an item to a nonresident when the item is shipped to an out of state location, many municipalities tax this sale.

In each example, if the taxpayer knows whether the transaction is taxable and, if so, how much tax needs to be paid, the taxpayer is able to collect the right amount from the customer, remit the right amount to the proper taxing authority and sleep well at night. If, on the other hand, the taxpayer does not understand what the law requires and fails to collect enough tax on a taxable transaction, the taxpayer will be forced to come out of pocket for the tax, plus interest and penalties, and, if the amount owed is large enough, might have to shut down the business.

Arizona municipal sales and tax laws are complex, and compliance is not a simple task. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you avoid tax problems. If it becomes necessary to go through a tax audit or negotiate with a taxing authority, an experienced lawyer can protect you. And, if you must go through a tax hearing or court proceeding, you need a skilled lawyer on your side.

If you do business in Arizona or you want to, having a knowledgeable, experienced and skilled tax lawyer on your side is essential.

No lawyer has more experience dealing with Arizona municipal tax laws than Stephen C. Newmark, who has worked on local tax matters since 1981 and helped draft the Model City Tax Code. Mr. Newmark regularly helps individuals and businesses comply with city and town tax codes, deal with tax audits, and he handles all aspects of contested administrative tax hearings and tax court proceedings.

Mr. Newmark’s municipal tax clients have ranged from manufacturers and processors, to miners, to farmers and ranchers, to retailers, to contractors and beyond. He has helped companies with internet taxes and transportation organizations with Motor Carrier Taxes. He has handled countless tax appeals and tax litigation matters. With his demonstrated expertise in a wide variety of tax matters, including Arizona Municipal Sales & Use Taxes, Mr. Newmark has the resources, the skill and the experience to assist you with your most complex tax concerns. Call Stephen C. Newmark at (602)274-7552 *or by e-mail* to have your questions answered by a skilled Scottsdale tax attorney.


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