Bakersfield · Business

Tejon Outlet stores charged extra sales taxes, now the race is on to recoup them

Shopped at the Tejon Outlets in southern Kern County? It’s possible you paid a little extra in sales tax and didn’t know it.

The Kern County Grand Jury, in a report released on Thursday, found that 17 stores operating in the outlet mall were collecting an additional 1 percent sales tax to comply with a City of Arvin sales tax increase.

The problem? The Tejon Outlets are not within Arvin’s city limits.

Retailers were collecting the additional tax to conform with Measure L, a 2008 voter-approved sales tax to fund infrastructure upgrades and public safety services in the City of Arvin.

The unexpected sales tax revenue from Tejon shoppers reached $701,516, the city told Grand Jurors.

Now, city officials have set aside the funds and alerted the retailers and their corporate parents that they can claim their share of excess sales tax sent to Arvin.

The push for repaying excess sales tax payments to the retailers, however, has a sunset: Oct. 1.

After that, the City of Arvin will be taking the unclaimed tax revenues.

What should they do with it? The Kern County Grand Jury had its own ideas: fund road repairs in the city.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.