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Last Updated: 12/28/2016

Frequently Asked Questions

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Sales Tax Statistics

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Research and Reports > Annual Statistics > Sales & Use Tax

  • What is the timing of the reports?Back to top

    Information is typically posted to the website in the spring. The annual returns based on 2015 sales were due in 2016. The 2015 information was posted to the website in the spring of 2017.

    To be notified when the information is posted to the website, please go to

    http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/research_stats/Pages/Sales-and-Use-Tax-Statistics-and-Annual-Reports.aspx

    and click on “Subscribe to sales and use tax statistics updates” near the top of the page. Usually an email is sent, once a year, when the new information is posted. 

    The department receives calendar year tax returns through February of the following year. Time is allowed for late filings and amended returns. It takes considerable work and time to process, clean, summarize, and format the data from close to 900,000 returns and approximately 160,000 businesses, before posting it on the website. Currently, the equivalent of over 400 paper pages of reports and over 235 spreadsheets are produced.

  • Why are there selected cities?Back to top

    Over 130 selected cities generally with larger populations and more businesses are included in the city by industry reports and the state by selected cities reports.  Typically, the less businesses a city has, the more data needs to be checked and suppressed.  The department does not have the resources to produce summarized data for approximately 890 cities in Minnesota.  Assuming the department did have the resources, some cities would not have enough businesses to be shown.

  • Why are some years missing?Back to top

    Reports were not produced for 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2002 due to budget constraints.​

  • What does NAICS stand for?Back to top

    North American Industry Classification Systems​

    It is an industry code for the business.  Typically, when businesses register for sales and/or use tax, they are asked for their primary industry code.  Data comes from registration information and over time may be updated to more accurately reflect the main activity of the business.  Some industries are less represented, particularly if they are not required to file a sales or use tax return.  The department is currently using 2007 NAICS codes. 
     
    Starting in 2003, the department switched to 2002 NAICS codes.  Before 2003, the statistics were based on 1987 SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes. 

  • How does a business end up in a particular county or city report?Back to top

    When businesses register or move, they provide their address to the department.  Efforts are made to improve addresses.  Addresses are standardized and for 2003 and after are geocoded.  For the city reports, businesses with their physical location within the city limits according to geocoding and a small number of businesses where their postal address is within the city limits are included.  If geocoding determines the business is in a township, unorganized territory, or outside the city limits, it is not included in the city report. 

    Prior to 2003, the data was primarily based on the post office city.  For some businesses with a post office city of Minneapolis or St. Paul, some efforts, albeit partial, were made to put the suburban businesses in the report for the appropriate suburb, as opposed to the reports for Minneapolis or St. Paul. 

  • Why does a specific county have less businesses in a particular category than a specific city that is in that county?Back to top

    Sometimes businesses incorrectly report their city, or only a post office city is available.  For example, many suburbs can also have their mailing address as Minneapolis or St. Paul.  Businesses in Eagan or West St. Paul could show up as though they are in St. Paul and Dakota County, even though St. Paul is in Ramsey County.  Coon Rapids could show up as though it is in Minneapolis and Anoka County, even though Minneapolis is in Hennepin County.  Efforts are made to make sure businesses are showing up in the more specific city and correct county.  Prior to 2003, this was more of an issue.  Since geocoding the data for 2003 and after, this has improved for the majority of records.

  • Why are there Non-Minnesota businesses?Back to top

    Some businesses outside of Minnesota sell to individuals or businesses within Minnesota, collect sales taxes from Minnesota individuals or businesses, and remit the taxes to Minnesota.  For example, these could be online, phone order, catalog, mail order, software, computer, utilities, cell phone, or businesses that deliver furniture or appliances to customers in Minnesota.  Some businesses report their location as outside Minnesota, even though they do have one or more locations inside Minnesota.  The department prefers to have a sales tax location address as a physical location address in Minnesota, even if the business also has a mailing address outside of Minnesota.

  • Why does a row or industry show up on one year for a particular spreadsheet, but it doesn’t show up in a different year?Back to top

    If a row or industry does not have enough businesses to be shown on a spreadsheet, it is included in the suppressed category and is still included in the totals for that spreadsheet.  Sometimes there are enough businesses in a category, one year, but then one or more businesses go out of business, move, or their industry code is changed, so there are less businesses in a category.