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Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and other ride-hailing companies would pay state and local sales tax on rides in the upstate region of New York under a bill ( A. 6661) introduced in the state Assembly.
The tax provisions of the bill differ from a measure (S. 4159) that passed the Senate in February and a measure included in a larger transportation budget bill ( S. 2008, A. 3008) proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D).
The Senate bill would impose a 2 percent tax, while the governor’s bill would impose a 5.5 percent tax. The state sales tax is currently 4 percent, while local sales taxes vary.
The three measures could be reconciled in budget conference committees, which will be held in the next two weeks.
The tax provisions are part of a larger debate about allowing ride-hailing companies to operate throughout the state. They are currently permitted only in the New York City area under the authority of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission.
While all three proposals would allow the companies to operate in areas such as Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Syracuse, the Assembly bill allows localities to regulate ride-hailing in the same manner that they regulate taxis and liveries.
The Senate and Cuomo bills would instead establish a statewide regulatory framework.
“It is heartening to see the Assembly join the Senate and the Governor in finally prioritizing, making ride-sharing a reality for all New Yorkers,” Alix Anfang, a spokeswoman for Uber, told Bloomberg BNA in an email.
Taxation of ride-share companies is an emerging area that few states have addressed through legislation thus far. Massachusetts enacted a comprehensive tax and regulation law for ride-share providers in August, imposing a tax of 20 cents per ride plus other fees. Boston taxi owners are challenging the law in court, as they want to see ride-share companies held to the same requirements as the taxi industry.
South Carolina enacted a law in 2015 that requires the companies to pay 1 percent of gross revenue to the state. Meanwhile, Florida’s Legislature is set to consider a bill this spring that would regulate but not tax the industry and that would specifically bar city and county governments from taxing it. Georgia’s House has passed a measure to subject ride-hailing app providers to sales taxation.
To contact the reporter on this story: Gerald B. Silverman in Albany, N.Y. at GSilverman@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at firstname.lastname@example.org
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