Two percent TIF tax is not citywide

Questions surrounding newly created tax districts were discussed at the January Minden City council meeting. The Webster Parish Sales and Use Tax collection office has also received many questions and noted at least one Minden business that was charging an incorrect sales tax.

“I made a purchase from a business on Homer Road [earlier this week], and they charged the new tax,” said Cyndy Herrington, administrator for the sales tax office. “There are four newly created Minden Economic Development Districts. Unfortunately, there is confusion with the sales tax because the districts are not in one section of town. The districts are not in a straight line, so to speak. We can’t say the districts are only on this street or that street.”

The new tax districts were created by the city in efforts to boost Minden’s economy.

Tax Increment Financing Districts can help existing property or business owners develop property, including vacant land and new or existing structures.

Funds generated by businesses with TIF tax will stay in the district it was collected and be used to fund projects and fund incentives to help lure business.

“This will help attract new investors from outside our area, as well as offer incentives to property owners and existing businesses,” Economic Developer James Graham said.

Herrington said there are currently 18 registered businesses inside of the TIF districts that should be levying the additional 2 percent tax, bringing the total sales tax at those businesses to 12.5 percent.

“As the collecting agency, we have to notify everyone registered with us when there are any sales tax changes,” she said. “In addition to the mass notification, we also mailed a specific letter to businesses located in the districts which notified them as to which district they are in. There is also a lot of undeveloped land and empty lots and buildings in the districts which doesn’t affect anyone at this time.”

Officials are reminding business owners and citizens the new sales tax rate does not encompass the entire city limits of Minden.

“Not only are we nearly the only small size city to implement a program like this, but we are the only one to demand that TIF funds support Minden jobs for Minden people,” Graham said, noting Minden’s current population is near 13,000 and needs to rise to 20,000 before major retailers will be interested in locating in the area.

If businesses have questions about how much tax they should be assessing, they should contact the Webster Parish Sales and Use Tax office at 377-8948.

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