Sales Tax

Local Sales Tax Collections Decline by 10 Percent in 2020, With Major Shifts in Consumer Spending

New York State local sales tax collections declined by 10 percent (or $1.8 billion) in 2020 compared to 2019, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. New York City, which was hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic, saw its collections decline by 18.7 percent in 2020, while counties outside the City saw an average drop of only -0.9 percent.

Municipalities: Fiscal Year 2019 Results; Fiscal Year 2020 Risks

This snapshot highlights the results for counties, cities, towns and villages that reported for local fiscal years ending (FYE) 2019. These scores, therefore, provide a baseline for local government fiscal preparedness in the period just prior to the pandemic. To provide additional context for these results, this snapshot also examines some of the biggest local government fiscal stress risk factors arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

First Quarter 2021 Local Sales Taxes Down 3.9 Percent; New York City Declines While the Rest of the State Grows

Local government sales tax collections declined by 3.9 percent, or $173 million, in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. This is the fourth quarter in a row that collections have dropped year-over-year. However, it is an improvement over the past three quarters. Collections in every region of the State outside of New York City increased over the first quarter of 2020, ranging from 2.4 percent in the Southern Tier to 9.8 percent in the North Country.

Statewide Local Sales Tax Collections in February Decreased by 4.2 Percent

Overall sales tax collections for local governments decreased by 4.2 percent, or $55 million, in February compared to the same month in 2020. Revenues continued to shrink, but the decline last month was less steep than in January (5.9 percent) and December (8.4 percent), and the double-digit drops in collections during the earlier months of the pandemic. All regions in the state experienced collection declines for February, ranging from 0.4 percent in the Mohawk Valley to 11.4 percent in the Finger Lakes.

Statewide Local Sales Tax Collections in January Down 5.9 Percent

Local government sales tax collections declined by 5.9 percent, or $95 million, in January compared to the same month in 2020. The decline is less steep than the 8.4 percent drop in December and not nearly as significant as the double-digit declines in the earlier months of the pandemic (April-June). All but one region – Central New York – in the state experienced a decrease in cash collections; New York City had a 6 percent, or $45 million, decline compared to January 2020.

Local Sales Tax Collections Decline by 10 Percent in 2020, With Major Shifts in Consumer Spending

New York State local sales tax collections declined by 10 percent (or $1.8 billion) in 2020 compared to 2019, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. New York City, which was hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic, saw its collections decline by 18.7 percent in 2020, while counties outside the City saw an average drop of only -0.9 percent. The pandemic also caused a dramatic shift in consumer spending during the spring and summer months. One change was a significant increase in online purchases.

Statewide November Local Sales Tax Collections Down 7.1 Percent

Local government sales tax collections declined by 7.1 percent, or $102 million, in November compared to the same month in 2019. The decline is steeper than in October, but not as bad as the double-digit declines in the earlier months (April-June) of the pandemic. All but five counties saw declines in overall collections in November, and New York City had a 6.5 percent, or $45 million, decline.

Statewide Local Sales Tax Collections Decline 5.2 Percent in October

Local government sales tax revenue declined by 5.2 percent, or $74.4 million, in October compared to the same month in 2019. This drop was less severe than previous declines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the spring when collections fell by double-digits. New York City had a 5.3 percent, or $34.5 million, decline in revenue, and all but eight counties in the state saw drops in collections for October as well.

Third Quarter 2020 Local Sales Tax Collections Down 9.5 Percent; New York City’s Decline Offsets Uptick in the Rest of State

Statewide local sales tax collections in the third quarter of 2020 declined by 9.5 percent, or $452 million, over the same quarter in 2019. This decrease, while alarming in a typical year, was still a marked improvement from the 27.1 percent drop in the second quarter, which reflected the peak of the economic impact to date from the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City’s steep decline of nearly 22 percent in sales tax revenue was the main driver behind the overall drop in local government collections in the third quarter.