City hires firm to track sales tax payments

HARLINGEN — A new set of eyes will work to see if the city’s businesses are paying their fair share of sales taxes.

City commissioners have hired Sales Tax Assurance, an Austin-based company, to monitor businesses’ payment of retail sales taxes to the city.

The city will pay the company an annual retainer of $6,000 or a 30-percent commission on recovered taxes, which ever is greater.

The hire marks the first time the city has contracted a company to review its sales tax collection.

“I think it’s good practice to just check,” Finance Director Elvia Treviño said yesterday. “In research, other cities are doing this.”

The company has helped other cities boost their sales tax collections, Gilbert Rodriguez, vice president for administration, said in an interview.

“Overall, we have improved or increased their sales tax revenue,” Rodriguez said. “Most of the cities don’t have resources to dedicate to look at sales tax administration.”

Rodriguez said the company will review state data to make sure businesses within Harlingen’s city limits are paying full sales taxes due the city.

For more on the story read Saturday’s Valley Morning Star.