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Sales tax shows holiday season started strong

The early returns on the holiday shopping season are coming in.

So far, they indicate that local retailers may have fared slightly better than in 2012, and did not lose ground from the gains of previous years.

Each month, the Illinois Department of Revenue disburses a round of sales tax dollars to each county, city and village in the state, equal to 1 percent of all sales subject to sales tax made within their boundaries.

Typically, those sales tax disbursements lag about three months behind the month in which the sales were made.

In February, local governments received sales tax revenues for the sales made in November 2012.

Kane County reported receiving $1.18 million in sales tax from sales made in November. That amounted to an increase of 4.41 percent from the same month in 2011.

It continued a trend of increasing retail activity, as measured by sales tax revenues collected last year, when county sales tax receipts from the state increased by 2.42 percent to $13.66 million.

Sales also increased in the Tri-Cities in November. Reports from the Illinois Department of Revenue indicated that sales tax revenues collected for all three cities combined increased by about 0.4 percent from $1.58 million in November 2011 to $1.59 million in November 2012.

Among the three cities, however, the results were mixed.

In Geneva, sales tax revenues in November jumped by almost 8 percent to $443,556.

In St. Charles revenue slipped by 0.5 percent to $778,480. And in Batavia, sales taxes collected in December from November sales dropped 5.7 percent to $368,619.

Batavia Finance Director Peggy Colby said the decrease is a concern.

She was hopeful, however, that perceived stronger retail activity in December could help recover the losses and close the city’s 2012 books with strength.

Typically, retail sales in December can greatly eclipse November’s activity. In 2011, for instance, December retail activity was 28 percent greater than November’s in the Tri-Cities, as the three communities combined to rake in $2.03 million in sales tax revenue.

Countywide in 2011, retail activity jumped 19 percent from November to December, according to Kane County financial records.

Local retailers reported in January that their preliminary results indicated that their sales activity increased markedly in December, as the holidays neared.

Numbers for December 2012 are scheduled to be released by the state in March.

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