Vendors may face tax fees | CraigDailyPress.com

Vendors may face tax fees

Mobile businesses may be held to same standard as local employers

Jeff Swanson

Out-of-town mobile vendors who come to Craig looking to set up shop on street corners may face a new obstacle if the Craig City Council has anything to say about it. A mobile vendor sales tax may be the new price visitors pay if they wish to operate their business along the city’s streets.

“I think it’s only right for the businesses who are here,” City Councilman Kent Nielson said. “If the businesses that are here full time have to pay taxes, there is no reason that these vendors that set up in parking lots and vacant lots shouldn’t have to pay it as well. I am not even sure that these vendors are paying a state tax either, which is something that we might also want to look into.”

A mobile vendor sales tax would require vendors, whose tents and pickup trucks often line Victory Way, to register with the city before being allowed to begin selling.

“The city where I was at before here [Enid, Okla.,] had something similar in place to keep track of who was coming in, and it worked very well,” City Manager Jim Ferree said. “It is only fair to the businesses that are here that the temporary vendors pay the same taxes that we require them to pay, so we are hoping to get something down on paper in the next few weeks.”

According to Ferree, some vendors are already paying sales tax, and the City wants to make sure that eveyone else is as well.

The vendors required to pay the tax would be required to provide the city with sales receipts, from which the city sales tax of 2.25 percent would be deducted.

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“We aren’t looking to discourage these vendors from coming to Craig, we just want to be fair to our local businesses,” Ferree said. “There is no reason why business should be taken away from our businesses here in town. We need to have a level playing field. Hopefully, this will help create that, and give us a step in the right direction.”

Councilor Nielson originally raised concerns about the vendors at the Aug. 14 City Council meeting, and believes it is an issue that should be dealt with before it becomes a problem.

“I haven’t heard from any businesses that are concerned with it so far, I basically just wondered what type of law we had in place,” he said. “I do think, though, that it’s important for us to get something solid down in the near future. We aren’t trying to penalize anyone, but it is only reasonable that we ask the same thing from these mobile vendors that we do from the businesses that are here all the time.”

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