However, even though the sales tax could be rounded up, the city would receive only 0.5 percent of the total sales tax collected. That's because the amount distributed by the state is based on the total sales in the municipal limits, Forinash said.
The state would not end up making more money, he said, because the instances of rounding up would be offset by instances of rounding down.
The Tax Department should have no problem collecting the extra tax if the proposal is implemented by Charleston, he said. The agency already collects sales taxes for three municipalities.
Huntington enacted a 1 percent citywide sales tax on Jan. 1, 2012.
Rupert, a small town in Greenbrier County, and Williamstown, Wood County, also have 1 percent taxes. Both of those towns enacted sales taxes in lieu of business and occupation taxes, Forinash said.
State code allows cities to levy sales taxes as long as they do not charge B&O taxes, he said.
However, Charleston is attempting to go the route of Huntington and enact the sales tax as part of its home rule powers.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said he knew that the half-cent sales tax would round up to a full penny in some instances. However, he still favors a half percent tax over a full percent.
"I don't think this is going to cause us any problems," Jones said.
Jones considers the proposed tax nominal, even if it does have to be rounded to a penny at certain price points, and he doubts it would adversely affect people's budgets.
Forinash said the rounding should cause merchants no trouble in collecting the tax.
Larger retailers would have the formula for calculating the tax programmed into their cash registers, and the machines would automatically round up or down, he said.
"If someone buys something at a smaller merchant's store, they'll have a chart posted somewhere to help them calculate the tax," Forinash said.