Air service tax takes effect Jan. 1 in Steamboat

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— Kim Weber, of the city of Steamboat Springs Finance Department, confirmed this week that the voter-approved 0.25 percent general sales tax to fund ski season air service becomes effective Jan. 1, 2012.

The new tax will boost the total sales tax rate in the city (exclusive of lodging taxes) from 8.4 percent to 8.65 percent. Of the existing 8.4 percent sales tax, only 4.5 percent is city tax. There also is a 2.9 percent state tax and a 1 percent county tax. Of the city’s 4.5 percent tax, 0.5 percent is the Steamboat Springs Education Fund’s tax.

The advent of the new air service tax means local retailers and restaurants, for example, will need to account for the change and re-program their cash registers between New Year’s Eve and the time they open their doors on New Year’s Day.

Moose Mountain Trading Co. owner Jenny Wall said she is unconcerned.

“We have a technical person we work with on that. I don’t foresee any problem,” she said Friday.

Overall sales taxes will be the highest where lodging taxes are collected. The city has a longstanding 1 percent lodging tax throughout the city. An additional 2 percent lodging tax that also is dedicated to funding winter airline service is applied only within the boundaries of a Local Marketing District, which takes on the large majority of resort lodging properties near the base of Steamboat Ski Area and on the perimeter of the mountain resort area.

Those who collect lodging tax within the LMD will tax guests at a rate of 11.65 percent once the new tax is added, Weber said.

Weber said vendors formally will be advised of the new tax when their annual tax forms are mailed out. However, the city also will include information in the newspaper and on the radio, and will mail out an additional letter to the affected businesses, she said.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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