Joint Revenue Committee says no to tax on services bill. NFIB Wyoming members take action.
A legislative proposal extending Wyoming sales tax to certain services along with an effort to repeal some current exemptions will not be sponsored by the Joint Revenue Committee when the legislature convenes in 2021.
“When the bill first surfaced as an agenda item of the Joint Revenue Committee, we sent a notice to our Wyoming members requesting they contact members of the legislative committee and request they not put this bill forward,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Wyoming state director. “They immediately let their legislators know. NFIB Wyoming members generated over 364 emails to legislators on the committee.
The new sales tax would apply to personal services including landscaping and design. Also included are business services such as building maintenance services, computer programing services and accounting services. A representative of the real estate profession highlighted the unlevel playing field. Wyoming law allows attorneys to sell real estate, their fees would not be taxable since the bill exempted legal fees, but a realtor’s fees would be taxable.
Gagliardi said while small businesses are being asked to reopen and bring employees back to work after being required to shut down by State action due to COVID-19, now is not the time to impose new taxes on them or their customers by the taxing of services.
According to a report in the Casper Star-Tribune, “The first draft of the bill sought to repeal several sales and use tax exemptions and subject numerous services to the taxes, including food purchases, agricultural services, personal expenses (like haircuts or preparation of taxes) and recreational activities.
“’Indeed, it is very broad and would include most services,’ Josh Anderson, attorney with Legislative Service Office, said in reference to the tax exemption repeals … Removing existing sales tax exemptions could draw in an additional $71 million each year for the state, according to the Legislative Service Office.
“Several residents and lobbyists opposed the sweeping tax reform measure. The economic crash of recent months has already left individuals and companies skating on thin ice, many said. A tax would only make matters worse.”
In the end, the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee decided to kill the idea, but Gagliardi expects the issue to resurface in the 2021 session. “Wyoming is no different from any other state in being desperate to come up with more revenues,” he said, “but there must be a way that doesn’t harm small businesses any more than they have been.”