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Positive sales tax trend continues in county

On Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Revenue reported that sales tax revenues in Archuleta County rose for the second straight month (and in the last five of six months) relative to the same collection period last year — an indication that the local economy has shown consistent improvement in 2011.

Although Tuesday’s report showed June numbers up 13.16 percent from June 2010, the CDR qualified those numbers by saying that May and June numbers were inflated due to additional revenues collected from 2011 audits.

In May, the CDR reported that sales tax revenues were up 24.38 percent compared to the previous May.

However, the CDR reported that additional collections due to audits were limited to 2011 sales tax. As such, sales tax revenues for the county remain up from last year by 7.26 percent, an indication that the local economy has, for the time being, weathered the worst of the recession.

Nevertheless, if CDR calculations are correct, June was relatively flat compared to last year. According to Diane Sorensen, finance director for the county, the CDR reported June collections up about $2,000 from last year — just a .35 percent increase from last year.

Although the CDR did not report from which period audits caught uncollected taxes, sales tax revenues were down 4.98 percent in April of this year. Considering that is the month that federal income taxes are due, it could be reasonably surmised that some businesses elected to defer one tax bill for another.

Despite confusion in Tuesday’s report due to audits and the collection of back taxes, the CDR report also held some of the best economic news reported in Archuleta County for the past three years: a trend in positive sales tax collections for a sustained period of time that reverses an almost uninterrupted trend of negative numbers since mid 2008.

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