Rio Nuevo has been hampered all along by not being allowed access to the information held by Arizona Department of Revenue necessary to identify merchants that don’t properly self-code their Transaction Privilege Tax forms within the Rio Nuevo TIF District as shown above. Proper coding of these forms does not increase a merchant’s tax liability, it merely allows State tax funds to be allocated and directed correctly to the Rio Nuevo District for use within downtown Tucson. If the proper code is not used the tax receipts go into the State’s general fund and not to the Rio Nuevo District. This lack of visibility has created certain bond rating issues recently due to the inability of the District to explain tax receipt trends or track merchant compliance. (Read Moody’s latest bond rating REDaily News Story from Monday here)
Yesterday, the Rio Nuevo Board announced that it has finalized an agreement with the State of Arizona Department of Revenue that will allow the District access to relevant taxpayer data for the approximately 1,100 merchants within the Rio Nuevo district.
District board members and staff have identified problems with some merchants not being aware of the self-coding requirement, particularly those that are based out of state. Until now however, the Department of Revenue took the position that the taxpayer information could not legally be shared with District staff. The agreement released Wednesday was over a year in the making and it goes a long way to resolving this data sharing issue by allowing the District access to the taxpayer coding information.
“We have been working on this for a long time,” stated Fletcher McCusker, Rio Nuevo’s Chairman. “This will assist us in educating merchants about how to properly fill out the TPT form and thereby recouping funds that were not properly coded and assuring that Rio Nuevo receives the sales tax receipts it is entitled to under the statute. We are grateful to the Department of Revenue for cooperating with us in this endeavor,” he concluded.
The entire agreement has been posted to the Rio Nuevo website, www.rionuevo.org.