City of Tucson Business License and Tax Updates

 

The Business License counter at City Hall is open once again to assist the public, Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm (excluding city holidays). Due to health and safety precautions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, the License Section is operating with reduced staff at City Hall to assist taxpayers at the Business License counter. Please arrive by 4pm so we can have plenty of time to assist you.

At this time, the main License customer service phone line will continue to be a message line, with calls returned by the next business day. For those who prefer to contact us via email, our email box is still available as well.

 

Contact the License Section at:

Phone:  (520) 791-4566 (MESSAGE LINE)

Fax:  (520) 791-5082

Email:  Tax-License@tucsonaz.gov

Mailing address:  City of Tucson License Section, PO Box 27210, Tucson, AZ, 85726-7210

Office address:  Tucson City Hall, 255 W Alameda St, Tucson, AZ, 85701

 

Business License and Tax Updates

Click a link below for more information about that subject:

Unpaid 2021 Business License Fees Are Now Delinquent

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

 

Unpaid 2021 Business License Fees Are Now Delinquent

As of February 1st, annual business license fees are delinquent, subject to a penalty equal to 50% of the unpaid balance.  The late penalty for annual license fees was assessed on February 6th.  Account statements reflecting delinquent business license fees for 2021 have been printed and are in the process of being mailed to business mailing addresses on record.  

If your business is no longer operating in Tucson, we must receive notice of your business license cancellation in writing.  You may send us such notice at the email or mailing addresses above; please include your name, your business' name and license number, a brief reason for your license cancellation, and the effective date of the cancellation.  If you send this notice via email, please use a subject line including your license number or business name followed by "OOB Request" (OOB is short for "out of business", and stands out better in our main email box).

If you have already sent us notice to cancel your business license and you have received an account statement including 2021 license fees, your request and the bill may have crossed in the mail.  But you may certainly, if you wish, send us a second notice (with the information listed above).  If you send a second notice via email, please use a subject line including your license number or business name followed by "OOB 2nd Request".

If you have sent us notice to cancel your business license and you have received an account statement which does NOT include 2021 license fees, the amounts billed are delinquent fees and/or taxes still due based upon the cancellation date provided.

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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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