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Voter-Approved Tax Increase Starts Monday

Measure J, passed by voters in June, brings with it a half-cent tax increase to 8.5% for the City of Sonoma.

The primary election last June 5 resulted in the passage of Measure J, which approved a half-cent sales tax increase for purchases made in the city of Sonoma. That new rate goes into effect on Monday, October 1.

At the time, the city estimated that the sales tax will raise about $1.1 million annually, which will be directed towards roads, public safety and municipal services to make up for budget gaps left in the wake of redevelopment. Read more about the measure here.

According to the State Board of Equalization, retailers generally need to apply the new tax rates if they:

  • Operate outside of the taxing area but are engaged in business within the area and sell merchandise for use in the area.
  • Sell autos, boats, or aircraft to customers that register them within the taxing area.
  • Collect tax on lease payments from property used in the taxing area.
  • Are engaged in business in the taxing area and have merchandise sold and delivered within the area.

Retailers are considered to be engaged in business in the area if they either:

  • Have a business location in the tax area,
  • Deliver into the tax area using their vehicles, or
  • Have a representative in the area to make sales, deliveries, installations, or take orders.

"If a retailer is not required to collect the additional tax as described above," according to the press release, "the purchaser may be responsible for reporting and remitting use tax to the BOE, depending on the circumstances of the sale or use of the property."

The base rate for sales tax in Sonoma county is 8%. Most incorporated cities in the county have higher rates, including Cotati, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa also with 8.5% tax rates, as will be the case in Sonoma starting next week. Healdsburg, Petaluma and Windsor retain the 8% rate.

Several other cities in the state will also see their sales taxes increase because of voter-approved measures in the June election. These include the city of Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County, .25% increase); Hercules, San Pablo and Pittsburg (in Contra Costa County, .5% increase), Ridgecrest (Kern County, .75%), and Soledad and Greenfield (in Monterey County, a full 1% increase).

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