n the year of a pandemic, Platte County sales tax and use tax revenues have not been negatively impacted.
That was the official word this week from Platte County Treasurer Rob Willard, as he reported on the county’s final sales and use tax distribution for 2020 having been received from the state.
“In the year of unpredictable and improbable, combined sales and use tax revenue for Platte County was no exception,” Willard remarked on Monday.
Final receipts for 2020 show that combined general sales tax and use tax revenue was down by less than four tenths of a percent–at .37% to be exact.
That revenue is actually more than the county had forecasted in its 2020 budget, Willard said.
“That revenue is 1.49% higher” than the county anticipated in its 2020 budget, the treasurer remarked.
The total sales and use tax revenue, in fact, would have been up when compared to 2019 except for the fact the county had to issue $126,000 in tax refunds recently.
“There was a rather substantial refund on sales taxes paid to certain vendors,” Willard explained. Due to recent change in state statute, businesses have greater flexibility now to review their records and request a refund on sales taxes paid when purchases were actually exempt. That’s what happened in a recent month when Platte County had to issue the $126,000 in refunds.
Without the issuance of those refunds, Platte County’s combined sales and use tax revenue for 2020 would have been about $62,000 more than in 2019, Willard said.
To break the total down specifically, general sales tax revenues were down 10.9% in 2020. But an explosive growth in use tax revenue, in large part due to increases in online sales, more than made up for the sales tax decline.
Use tax revenues are up by a whopping 22.36% in 2020 as compared to 2019, according to Willard’s report.
The positive totals might come as a surprise to some observers. For instance, Dagmar Wood, first district county commissioner, earlier this year had claimed: “Effectively through the shutdowns, the health departments have run a Mack truck through the collective storefronts of our businesses and we need to get that truck out and that storefront fixed and get our economic engine back up and running again.”
While certain sectors of the economy or specific businesses suffered revenue declines, the overall economic activity in the county has been virtually unchanged in 2020 when it comes to tax revenues.
General sales tax revenue for 2020 in Platte County was $8,724,801 and use tax revenue totaled $5,549,908 for a combined total of $14,274,710.