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ND sees sharp drop in taxable sales and purchases in 2nd quarter, 2020


North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner said it isn’t a surprise.

Ryan Rauschenberger said taxable sales and purchases for April, May and June were down 22.5 percent compared to the same three month period in 2019.

Taxable sales and purchases totaled $4.34 billion.

Rauschenberger said there were two major factors that caused that downward trend. One was COVID-19.

"We had shutdowns of businesses," Rauschencberger said. "People weren't moving around as much. We didn't have as much activity in the Oil Patch, and that was the beginning of significant declaines in the oil economy."

Rauschenberger said oil makes up as much as a third of the sales tax base.

Rauschenberger said wholesale trade was also down. But he said one bright spot came in the collections of sales taxes from on-line retailers.

"In April, we had an increase of  six times in collections from on-line retailers, compared to the previous April,' Rauschenberger said.

Rauschenberger said he is expecting some recovery in the third quarter – July, August and September – but it won’t be back to 2019 levels.

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