Retail sales tax is levied on sales, purchases, and leases of personal property and taxable services in the city. Examples of businesses that pay this tax include grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, and recreational and medical marijuana.

Maintain or increase sales tax revenues to projected levels.

Tracking and comparing data from year to year helps the city monitor the economic health of the community and better forecast revenue projections. This information guides future budget discussions and decisions.

Between 2009 and 2019, sales tax revenues in the city had steadily increased, with the exception of a flattening between 2016 and 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant business shut-downs in the final week of March 2020, and all of April 2020 and May 2020.

Determining the increase in base revenue can be complicated by the implementation of temporary tax rate increases. The city had two recently approved temporary increases for dedicated purposes. In 2014, .15 percent was approved for transportation. This increment was renewed in 2019. In 2015, .30 percent was approved for community, culture and safety projects this amount was renewed in 2017, and ends in 2021. The amounts in the top and middle graphs are actual amounts received, and the large spikes in 2014 and 2015 are due in part to these tax rate increases.

To determine if there is an increase in the base revenue amount, the city normalizes the rate (which shows the percentage increase/decrease in dollars from one year to the next as if the temporary tax increase were not in place) to better reflect the underlying economic activity in the city and enable city staff to more readily determine if revenue targets are being met. These normalized year-to-year percentage changes are shown in the bottom graph.

More details on the city's sales and use tax revenue can be found in monthly reports dating back to 2010.

The majority of sales tax revenue comes from monthly filers. However, the city has a significant number of quarterly and annual filers. Due to these less frequent filings, March, June, Sept and Dec revenues are greater than other months.

This data is provided by the City of Boulder's Finance Department. This page will be updated monthly.

Retail Sales Tax Dashboard