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Hot pepper challenge, sales tax edition - Will's Whiteboard

  • Dec 12, 2013 | Will Frei

Think you could eat a raw habanero pepper and read an entire tax rate change notice from the state of Texas?

Watch Sales Tax Specialist Will Frei as he attempts to do just that. It's ugly. But it does illustrate how hard it is to keep track of sales tax changes as a growing business when there are a million other (burning) things vying for your attention.


Hi, welcome to Will’s Whiteboard. I’m Will. Today we’re going to be talking about how incredibly hard it could be to manage sales tax changes. What we have for you is this sales tax rate change notice from the state of Texas. And this puppy just represents a single jurisdiction in Texas. Obviously though, sales tax isn’t the only thing you have to think about. There are tons of other things that you have to manage.

Let’s illustrate that. This is a habanero pepper, these things are super hot. If you’ve ever gotten too much Tabasco on your mouth, these things are about 100 times hotter than that. Okay, so this is hard and this is hot. What I’m going to do is I’m going to try to read this entire sales tax rate notice change, but first I’m going to eat a habanero pepper. And again, this represents all the things that are distracting you and vying for your attention and keeping you up at night, while you have to deal with sales tax rate changes.

So, I got a copy here, this says “The Harris County Emergency Service District number 9 is located in the west central portion of Harris County.” So we’re obviously not talking about the whole thing.

“The districts boundaries for the imposition of sales and use tax excludes areas of the district which are responsible for collecting and remitting sales and use tax to the city of Houston. And this is do strategic partnership agreement between utility district and the city and this district excludes the Bridge, the management district, which is located-or the district is located entirely within the Houston MTA.”

I don’t know what that is, we can look that up for you.

“Which imposes a transit sales and use tax. The MTA imposes a trans sales and use tax. The unincorporated areas of Harris County, zip code 77040, 77041, and 77064, 77065, 77084, 77095, 77429, 77433, 77447, and 77449 are partially located in the Harris County Emergency Service District number 9. Contact the direct representative at 713-984-8222 for additional boundary information.”

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.
Avalara Author
Will Frei
Avalara Author Will Frei
Will Frei directs social media and blogging for @avalara. He is on a mission to help make sales tax less taxing for businesses of all kinds.