CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With just one dissenting vote Monday, City Council members approved a half-cent-per-dollar tax on retail sales in the city of Charleston.
Shoppers won't feel the pinch immediately, however. Although the tax ordinance is effective immediately, merchants won't start charging the tax until least October 1, city attorney Paul Ellis said.
Under state law, the state Tax Department must first notify all merchants about the new tax, and tax collections can't start until the first day of a calendar quarter at least 120 days after catalog vendors get the word.
The city's goal is to notify the Tax Department about passage of the tax, and supply required data about the city's boundaries by the end of the month so that the Tax Department can send out its notices in June, said Dale Steager, a former two-time acting state tax commissioner who is advising the city on the sales tax.
"A notice will go out, probably electronically, to vendors in Charleston and others in the state because they can make deliveries in Charleston, and to out-of-state vendors," Steager told members of council's Finance Committee.
"Our hope is to start collecting the first of October." But if there's a delay, the date could be pushed back to Jan. 1, 2014, he said.
Large vendors who file tax returns every month would probably pay their first city taxes on Nov. 20, Steager said. But because the state reimburses the city on a quarterly basis, the city would not get its first tax payment until February or March, Ellis said.
The state will also get a cut of the city sales tax, Ellis said, although the amount is still in the air because the Legislature changed the terms late in the session.