Glenwood Springs denies sales tax appeal for local business
Ryan Summerlin August 20, 2013
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A local off-road vehicle and motorcycle dealership is being asked to pay $158,000 in back sales taxes owed to the city for the past three years, a portion of which it claims were from sales deliveries outside the city.
Mountain Powersports, which also has the Aspen Valley Harley Davidson dealership in Glenwood Springs, appealed to City Council on Thursday seeking an exemption of $29,100 worth of the sales taxes it acknowledged that it owes to the city.
In dispute are sales taxes for about 80 ATVs, snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles the company’s chief financial officer, Pedro Soares, told council members were delivered outside the city and should be exempt from city sales tax.
“We do have our employees under oath saying they delivered those vehicles elsewhere [outside Glenwood Springs],” Soares argued.
Missing, though, is any sort of written documentation showing when and where the vehicles were delivered, which led city finance director Mike Harman to determine that the full amount of back taxes are owed. The city allows appeals of sales taxes to be made to council.
Soares said the dealership does not dispute the bulk of the back taxes owed.
“We had some past management that misunderstood how the taxes were to be paid,” he said of about 486 vehicles that were sold between the spring of 2010 and July of last year.
“We were wrong, and we are going to rectify that and pay the taxes we owe,” Soares said. “We’re just asking that you reflect those vehicles that were delivered outside the city.”
City Council members upheld Harman’s decision on a 4-0 vote, with three council members absent from the Thursday meeting.
“I do feel sympathetic toward businesses, especially with the struggles of the last four or five years,” Councilman Todd Leahy said. “But, absent the documentation, it’s hard to rule against staff’s decision on this.”
Soares said most of the vehicles sold, about 85 percent, are to customers from outside the city.
“The number sold in the city [and subject to city sales tax] is very low,” he said of recent sales audits.