A new set of sales-related tax rates are set to take effect. Beginning August 1, the sales tax and the meals tax will increase from 5 percent to 6.25 percent. This new rate will also apply to the sale of automobiles. Also on August 1, the sales tax exemption currently in effect for beer, wine and alcohol sold in package stores will be lifted and those items will be taxed as well at 6.25 percent.
There are new local option meals and rooms tax rates as well that will take effect October 1 if enacted. Deciding whether to enact these new rates is a decision left to each individual city and town governing body.
The new local option taxes are an increase of.75% for meals and up to a 2 percent increase in the rooms tax. Communities that enact either or both of these new rates will garner the revenue collected from these higher rates. To enact these new rates in time for October 1 implementation, cities and towns must approve the new rate(s) not later than August 31, and then inform the Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services immediately to ensure that revenue collected from the new local option taxes is properly credited to each city and town.
For the first time, the Commonwealth will collect a 5 percent gross receipts tax on receipts of satellite television providers from subscriptions. This is also set to take effect on August 1.