sales tax


Definition of sales tax

: a tax levied on the sale of goods and services that is usually calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and collected by the seller

Examples of sales tax in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Plans are now in place for the City Council to start a formal discussion about putting a one-cent sales tax before the voters next year. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lemon Grove starts strategizing on plans moving forward," 6 June 2019 In 2008, King County, Washington issued a 0.1 percent sales tax to mental health programs, which resulted in 29 percent decline in admissions to the county’s psychiatric hospital and a 35 percent decline in jail bookings. Tracey Ross, Essence, "Taraji P. Henson Speaks To Black Female Mayors About Increasing Access To Mental Health Resources," 4 June 2019 Japan’s economy is weakening, but the government looks likely to increase its sales tax. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Tokyo’s Tax Increase Would Undermine All of Japan’s Economic Progress," 9 Apr. 2019 But beyond oil, there is not much else in Alaska to generate revenue; state lawmakers have blocked a sales tax and income tax. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil," 12 July 2018 McAllen raises more sales tax per capita than almost any other Texas city — about $60 million last year. Kevin Sullivan,, "Texas border town becomes reluctant center of immigration fight," 5 July 2018 One implication is that investors shouldn’t expect much help from the Bank of Japan if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposed sales tax throws economic growth off course. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Japan Is Giving Up on Activist Monetary Policy," 26 Apr. 2019 Diesel sales taxes also rose, and drivers are paying a new annual fee with their vehicle registration, ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of the vehicle. Jonathan J. Cooper, The Seattle Times, "California gas tax repeal campaign seeks federal inquiry," 2 Oct. 2018 In May, village staff estimated the village’s 2019 budget could sustain a $500,000 hit in sales tax revenue from Carson’s loss and that of other top generators. Kathy Routliffe,, "Despite big ticket losses, Wilmette retail vacancies still low, board members told," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sales tax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sales tax

1921, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near sales tax


sales slip

sales talk

sales tax




Statistics for sales tax

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sales tax

The first known use of sales tax was in 1921

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More Definitions for sales tax

sales tax


Financial Definition of sales tax

What It Is

Sales tax is a consumption tax levied on goods and services purchased at the retail level, paid by the consumer and submitted by the retailer to the governing tax authority.

How It Works

In the United States, the sales tax is imposed on retail items. It is paid by the consumer to the retailer, usually as a percentage of the retail cost, who submits the payment to the state.

Sales tax rate and application varies dependant on the state. Sales tax can be applied by counties, cities and regions in addition to the state sales tax.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: The Most Important Tax Changes to Know Before Filing Your Tax Return]

Why It Matters

The imposition of this tax affects the consumer directly on each purchase for nonexempt goods and services. Some consumers may find it advantageous to "cross the border" to pay less taxes than in their home state for larger purchases.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that sales taxes are one of the least harmful types of taxes for the economy; they minimally hinder growth and investment.

Many consider sales tax to be regressive, as it is a larger burden and percentage of income for low-income earners.

The only federal sales tax was imposed in 2010 via the health care reform law which taxes a 10% federal sales tax on indoor tanning services.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: How to Avoid an IRS Audit]

Source: Investing Answers

sales tax


English Language Learners Definition of sales tax

: a tax that is added to the price of goods and services

sales tax


Kids Definition of sales tax

: a tax paid by the buyer on goods bought

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sales tax


Legal Definition of sales tax

: a tax levied on the sale of goods and services that is usually calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and collected by the seller

More from Merriam-Webster on sales tax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sales tax Encyclopedia article about sales tax

Comments on sales tax

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to take the place or position of

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