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2018 saw increase in ND taxable sales and purchases

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2018 was a very good year, in terms of taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota.

"They're up about 12 1/2 percent" said North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger.

That’s compared to 2017. Those sales and purchases totaled $20.24 billion, compared with just under $18 billion in the previous year.

The reason – better oil prices, spurring more activity in the oil patch. Rauschenberger said the price of oil averaged around $65 a barrel.

"The Bakken is very, very productive, and profitable, at that average of $65 a barrel," Rauschenberger said. "That's kind of a sweet spot, where you have decent return, but the prices aren't so high that you see a backlash at the fuel pump."

Two of the state’s largest cities showed a decrease in sales tax in 2018. Bismarck was down by 2 1/4 percent, while Grand Forks was down by 12 1/4 percent.

Meanwhile, Rauschenberger said his office is still getting a number of on-line retailers who are registering with his office to collect state sales taxes.

"There's been a backlog," Rauschenberger said. "There are some national technology companies that everyone wants to work with to get registrations completed. They work with hundreds of thousands of on-line retailers. So there are companies who are still just coming in the door."

Rauschenberger said about 3800 companies have already registered on line.

Rauschenberger said the state has so far collected close to $10 million in sales tax from Internet retailers. He said that means the state is poised to exceed what he had projected in those collections.

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