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Barring Another Postponement, Bethel City Council To Vote On Online Sales Tax Code

Apr 14, 2020

On April 14, Bethel City Council will once again consider voting on the Uniform Remote Sellers Sales Tax Code, which would enable the city to collect taxes on purchases made by Bethel residents online.
Credit City of Bethel

On April 14, the Bethel City Council will take another look at enacting an online sales tax.

A month earlier, the council postponed voting on the Uniform Alaska Remote Seller Sales Tax Code in order to consult with the new city attorney, Libby Bakalar. A week ago, Mayor Perry Barr said that he was in favor of shelving the decision until even later, because he didn’t want residents to pay additional taxes during these “unprecedented times.” In order to postpone the measure, three other council members will have to agree with the mayor.

If adopted, Bethel’s online sales tax will be managed by the Alaska Municipal League, which will serve as a middleman between Alaska municipalities and online sellers. If the city council adopts AML’s tax code, Bethel residents will start paying the online sales tax in 30 days. They would pay the same tax rates that are charged in Bethel, with the same exceptions: 6 percent tax on purchases, and Elders would be exempt.

Also tonight, the city will also be swearing in City Manager Vincenzo “Vinny” Corazza, who started last week, and City Attorney Elizabeth "Libby" Bakalar, who started March 16. Council members will be also performing a routine annual evaluation for City Clerk Lori Strickler.