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Last Updated: 4/22/2014

Sales and Use Tax Statistics

 

What information is included in the sales and use tax statistics? 

The reports summarize information from sales and use tax returns and business registration information received at the Department of Revenue from monthly, quarterly, and annual sales tax filers.  The statistics are based on the calendar year the sales and use tax returns were for, except for 2006 and 2007 reports, which were based on the processing date. 
 
Statewide sales and use taxes are included.  Local sales and use taxes are not included, but can be found on our local sales and use tax web page.  Sales tax on motor vehicle sales and leases is not included in these statistics.  More information is included in the Tax Handbook.  Businesses that do not file sales or use tax returns, because they are not required to do so, are not included.
 
The sales tax amounts include the general rate, additional liquor tax, mobile homes, lottery in lieu, and the additional car rental tax.  The use tax total includes the general rate use tax, motor carrier direct pay, and variable rate use tax.  Rates for specific years can be found in the Tax Handbook.  
 
Returns that are zero for all the dollar fields above for the statewide sales and use taxes and gross sales are not included in the counts.  Often these are the last returns for a business, but the department has not yet been notified that the business has closed.  If the only dollar field filled in is gross sales, the business is still included in the statistics and counts. 
 
Caution: Sometimes, there are inaccuracies in the data provided by the taxpayer.  For example, gross sales is no longer a part of the calculation to get to the tax, so it is more prone to errors.  The department does check gross sales outliers for errors, but that field generally is less accurate.  Some businesses report their Minnesota gross sales, but some report their nationwide or worldwide gross sales.  The other dollar fields are specific to Minnesota, are a part of the tax calculations and are scrutinized more. 
 
Most businesses with more than one location file a consolidated return where they list the detail for each of their locations separately.  So, if they have a store in Minneapolis and a store in Woodbury, their sales for Minneapolis will show up in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, and their sales for Woodbury will show up in Woodbury and Washington County.  Each location counts separately in the statistics.  Some businesses register each of their locations separately and file separate returns for each, which will also result in sales correctly showing in the city and county where they took place.  A small number of businesses with multiple locations incorrectly report all sales as though they took place in one location, which distorts the distribution.  As those businesses are found, the department tries to get them to report correctly for separate locations.