City of Tucson Business License and Tax Updates

The Taxpayer Assistance Division transitioned to a new business license and tax system on June 20th.  We plan to make a new on-line business license and tax portal available by the end of September. 

Taxpayers will be able to apply on-line for regular business licenses and special event business licenses, and will be able to submit payment on-line using either e-checks or credit and debit cards as payment methods. 

We will post here when the on-line portal is available.  In the meantime, if you need to apply for a license or make a payment for license fees or taxes, you may visit our offices or contact the License team to learn about other options.


Contact Us

Location:  County-City Public Works Building, 201 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ, 85701

License team customer service email:  License@tucsonaz.gov
License team customer service phone:  (520) 791-4566  Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Taxpayer Assistance Division fax:  (520) 791-3114
Mailing Address:  City of Tucson License Section, PO Box 27210, Tucson, AZ, 85726-7210

Investigations team customer service email:  Tax-Investigations@tucsonaz.gov
Investigations team customer service phone:   (520) 791-4247
Taxpayer Assistance Group fax:  (520) 791-3114


Business License and Tax Updates

Click a link below for more information about that subject:

Account Statements for Delinquent 2022 Business License Fees

City Accepting Requests for Deferral of Quarterly Liquor Taxes for Qualifying Businesses

Changes Regarding Retail Tobacco Sales and Sales of "Vaping" Supplies

How to Pay Your Renewal Electronically

Refunds for Business Taxes and Fees

Tax Rate Reminders

Contracting Changes for 2019

Businesses with Unfiled Returns or Underpayments

Speculative Builders and Owner Builders

Other Tax Code Changes


Account Statements for Delinquent 2022 Business License Fees

Between now and the end of February, we will be mailing account statements for all accounts which have had the late penalty assessed for the 2022 annual license renewal fee.  Following is a guide if you receive one of these statements and have a question.

If your business has closed, or if you are no longer doing business in the City of Tucson, please send us notice in writing (an email to License@tucsonaz.gov will work) including your name, the name of the business, the date the business last operated in the City of Tucson, and a brief reason that the business closed.  If you are emailing us, please include “License Cancellation” in your email subject.  You will still be responsible for any amounts assessed or due prior to your business closure date.

If your payment for your 2022 license renewal was received after the date at the top of the account statement, it might not reflect on the account statement we have mailed to you.  You are welcome to contact our offices at the email address or phone number in the upper righthand corner of the statement, to verify that your payment has posted to your account.

If your payment for your 2022 license renewal was received after January 31st, the late penalty would still have been assessed, and would still apply, even if your payment was postmarked before February 1st.

If you paid your 2022 license renewal on our e-Tax system between February 1st and February 5th, the late penalty would not yet have shown on the e-Tax system.  However, the late penalty would still apply.

If your question is not answered above, feel free to email or call us at the email address or phone number listed in the upper righthand corner of your account statement.

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City Accepting Requests for Deferral of Quarterly Liquor Taxes for Qualifying Businesses

On September 9, 2020, Mayor and Council passed Resolution 23277.  This resolution will allow qualifying businesses with Series 6 (Full Bar) or Series 7 (Beer & Wine Bar) Liquor Licenses, issued by the State of Arizona, to defer payment of their Tucson quarterly liquor taxes normally due under Section 19-52 of the city code.  Approved deferrals are good through January 1, 2021, or until the date when establishments with such licenses are permitted to reopen per proclamation of the Governor.  An approved deferral allows the business to pay the deferred quarterly liquor taxes when the business reopens. Qualifying businesses have until June 30, 2021 to remit to the City the quarterly liquor taxes deferred, and they may ask for a payment plan.  Penalties that accrue during the deferral time will be waived once the deferred quarterly taxes are paid in full.

To qualify for the deferral, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The business was closed due to the Governor’s emergency public health proclamation.
  2. The business is current on payment with the City for all other taxes, fees, and licenses owed to the City.

To request a deferral, please send an e-mail to Tax-Investigations@tucsonaz.gov.  The e-mail should contain the following:

  1. A list of the quarters the business wishes to defer.
  2. A written statement certifying the time period the business has been closed.
  3. A written statement of understanding that the deferred quarterly liquor taxes will be due when the business re-opens.
  4. A written request for a payment plan if one is desired.

City staff will respond regarding the approval or denial of all requests for deferral of the quarterly liquor taxes.  For any questions, please e-mail Tax-Investigations@tucsonaz.gov or call 520-791-4247.

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Changes Regarding Retail Tobacco Sales and Sales of "Vaping" Supplies

Recently, Mayor and Council passed Ordinances Nos. 11703 and 11720, which make big changes to Tucson City Code Chapter 7, Article XIX, dealing with Tobacco Retail Establishments.  The biggest changes made by these ordinances are:

  1. The definition of “tobacco product” is changed to include devices and substances used for “vaping”.
  2. The minimum legal sales age for tobacco products in the City of Tucson is increased from 18 to 21.
  3. The annual license fee for a tobacco retail license is increased to $300.

All of these changes are effective January 1, 2020.  Information packages, including 2020 renewal forms for current tobacco retail licensees will be mailed the week of January 20th by the License Section.  

Signs are being designed that satisfy the requirements of the tobacco retail code changes.  After these have been printed, they will be mailed along with 2020 tobacco retail license certificates for tobacco retailers who have paid their renewal fees.

Businesses that have not previously fallen under the category of tobacco retail establishment, but which currently sell “vaping” supplies or other paraphernalia that are now classified as “tobacco products”, are now required to obtain a tobacco retail establishment license.  The City of Tucson License Section will be reaching out to these businesses to help them come into compliance with the new law.

Ordinance #11703

Ordinance #11720

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How to Pay Your Renewal Electronically

If you would like to get information about paying your annual business license renewal online, read through this document (this is a PDF file, so it is best viewed with Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat).  It includes instructions about creating a user ID and password in our e-Tax system, and then making an ACH payment for your annual license fees.

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Refunds for Privilege Taxes and License Fees

If you have received an account statement from the City of Tucson, with a credit balance, non-filed returns, or outstanding balances, please contact the appropriate Taxpayer Assistance office at the phone number or email listed at the bottom of the front page of the statement.

For all other refund requests:  Effective July 1, 2019, the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) administers all refund claims for Transaction Privilege (Sales) and Use Taxes for ALL taxing jurisdictions in the state of Arizona.  See this link (https://azdor.gov/transaction-privilege-tax/tpt-refund) for instructions for submitting a refund claim through ADOR.  All documents identified at this website, or any others requested by ADOR must be returned solely to ADOR.

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Tax Rate Reminders

The City of Tucson tax rate increased effective July 1, 2017 from 2% to 2.5% for most business activities, and increased effective March 1, 2018 from 2.5% to 2.6% for those same business activities.  This is especially important to note if you are an annual filer as the city tax rate has increased from the return filed for 2017.

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Contracting Changes for 2019

Effective January 1, 2019, the definition of “alteration” for commercial projects will be changing.  Senate Bill 1409 simplified the definition.  Prior to January 2019, commercial projects that met the following three requirements were considered alteration: 1) the price of the job was less than or equal to $750,000, and 2) the project altered 40% or less of the original square footage of the structure and 3) no more than an additional 10% of the original square footage is added to the existing structure. 

As of January 1, 2019, the only requirement for a commercial project to be considered an alteration is that the price of the project be less than or equal to $750,000.  Commercial projects for more than $750,000 will be considered modifications and subject to the construction contracting section (19-415) of the Tucson Tax Code.

Contracts signed prior to January 1, 2019 will be subject to the three requirements listed above.

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Businesses with Unfiled Returns or Underpayments

Businesses with unfiled City of Tucson returns or underpayments for periods prior to January 1, 2017 can call the Revenue Investigations Section at (520) 791-4247 for assistance with filing any missing returns during that time period and getting their account(s) up to date.

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Speculative Builders and Owner Builders

Speculative builders and owner builders are potentially liable for city sales tax on new construction built and sold within the City.  Please call Tax Audit at (520) 791-4681 to see if this could apply to you, and for more information on how to report the tax on these types of sales.

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Other Tax Code Changes

For any changes to the City of Tucson tax code, check the link to Model City Tax Code at https://modelcitytaxcode.az.gov/ .

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