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Ohio: If It Looks Like Sales Tax Is It Sales Tax?


 Tax or fee? For Butler County, Ohio, it's about revenue, not semantics.

Ground has yet to be broken for Liberty Center, but already it is being called a “civic, social and commercial hub...” for Ohio’s Butler County. And although no sales can be made in the “mega-retail project” until it is built, there is already talk of sales tax.

Well, technically there’s talk of a user fee, not a new sales tax; and it’s for all of Liberty Township, not just Liberty Center.  Earlier this week, officials from Liberty Township “approved the creation of a community authority … that would collect the additional fee with the intention of approving the increase later.” The actual creation of the Liberty Community Authority (LCA) hinges on the approval of county commissioners.

If it looks like sales tax…

Fee or tax, the experience for shoppers will be the same. As an article in cincinnati.com points out, “It’s like paying 6.75 percent in sales tax compared to 6.25 percent to shop anywhere else in Butler County….”

Few people warmly embrace new fees or additional taxes. Yet it should be noted that Butler County currently has one of the lowest rates of sales tax in the state and the lowest sales tax rate in the Greater Cincinnati [four-county] region.

Butler County has promised it will contribute “$30 million toward the infrastructure [of Liberty Center] once a master development agreement is signed.” Up to $5 million in additional infrastructure financing has been approved by Liberty Township. Caroline McKinney, economic development director of the township, has indicated an agreement should be signed by the end of the month.

Construction on the new mega-mall is slated to begin in October of this year. If all goes as planned, the center will open in 2015. Exactly when the Liberty Township would start collecting the proposed 0.5% fee (or tax) has yet to be determined.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.