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Sales taxes collected (from retailers) would be a great proxy for general economic activity. Using sales tax data, you could get a rough idea of the revenues collected by retailers in a given area. Since it's tax information, my gut tells me this type of information should be available. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate anything like this so far (I filed a FOIL request a few months ago and never heard back). Specifically I'm interested in sales taxes in NYC, but any info on taxes collected in the US could be useful. Any ideas?

  • Where did you send your FOIL request? Tax revenue is collected by NY State on behalf of NYC and other localities. Unless you sent a request to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, it's probably not going to be processed. There is also likely a privacy concern with releasing this information, though NYSDTF does list "Tax filings by individual and/or business taxpayers" as a topic on it's FOIL Subject Matter List – Richard D Aug 26 '16 at 21:29
  • I submitted a FOIL request to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance on 5/11/2016. On May 16th, 2016, I received a reply stating: “we understand that you will be working with Office of Tax Policy to obtain the information you are seeking and they will be reaching out to you shortly. OPTA is best suited to meet your data requests”. After that I never heard from the OPTA or NYDTF. If the government fails to follow up on a FOIL request, what options do I have? – Tim_K Sep 19 '16 at 23:28
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I have not come across this data for NYC (though would also be really interested in it if the data existed publicly somewhere!), but know that you can get sales tax receipts for a few categories for the state of Texas at least.

The state of Texas publishes sales tax receipts data on the following areas:

  • Mixed beverage (think bar receipts)
  • Hotel occupancy
  • Franchisees

These datasets include:

  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Reported tax
  • Gross receipts

The last month's filings are available through the Texas government here and more historical data is available through Enigma.io here.

(Full disclosure: I work for Enigma.)

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This question is one year old, but still: https://www.census.gov/govs/statetax/historical_data.html isn't this what you need?

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