Tax renewal goes to voters

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tax applies to out-of-state purchases titled in Missouri

Officials in Barry County and the city of Cassville are hoping a sales tax ballot measure will be continued by local voters, as they said the elimination of the tax would put local vendors at a disadvantage.

The measure designates the state, county and city sales taxes should be collected when a person titles a vehicle, trailer, boat or outboard motor purchased outside the state. The tax has been collected for years, and it would not represent a new tax for any county residents.

Cherry Warren, presiding commissioner for Barry County, said the tax affects the county just as much as any other.

"It mostly affects us when people buy their boats in Kansas," he said. "They buy them out of state, then bring them to Table Rock Lake, and without this use tax, they would not have to pay a county sales tax. We should continue this tax to keep it a level playing field for local vendors."

Warren said failure of the measure would not put any dealers, especially local car dealers out of business, but it would give them the same standing as an out-of-state dealer, such as Arkansas, Oklahoma or Kansas.

"If we don't pass [the measure], people who buy vehicles out of state would avoid sales tax by buying it there, then titling it in Missouri," Warren said. "I should have to pay the county tax if I purchased something out of state, and that's the way I plan to vote.

"As far as car dealers, Barry County is fortunate to have two new car dealerships [in Cassville], and this would eliminate that level playing field if it did not pass."

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, Barry County in the past seven months has received $169,163.72, which includes vehicle bought in state and out of state.

According to Jennifer Evans, Cassville city clerk, Cassville has budgeted $25,000 in revenue from the tax for 2016. According to the Department of Revenue, it brings in on average between $2,000 and $2,500 per month for the city. In 2015, the city collected $27,081 from the tax, and in 2014, it collected $28,843.

Evans said the city hopes to see it passed, as not doing so would put dealerships like Country Dodge and Les Jacobs Ford at a disadvantage, especially being so close to the Arkansas border. She said those who bought a vehicle in Arkansas would still have to pay the state sales tax, 4.225 percent, when titled in Missouri, but if the ballot measure does not pass, not the city or county sales taxes.

For those in Cassville, the following taxes would apply to a vehicle bought out of state: The 4.225-percent state tax, half-cent for Barry County roads, half-cent for Barry County general fund, 1/8-cent for Barry County general fund (law enforcement) and 2.375-percent for the city of Cassville.

This means on a $30,000 purchase out of state, the buyer would pay a total of $2,317.50, including $1,267.50 for the state tax, $150 for each of the Barry County half-cent taxes, $37.50 for the Barry County 1/8-cent tax and 712.50 for the city of Cassville's tax. A Cassville resident who buys of an out-of-state vehicle pays this amount currently, and if the measure does not pass, the buyer would only have to pay the $1,267.50 to the state.

The South Barry County Ambulance District has a half-cent sales tax, and the Barry County E-911 Center has a 3/8-cent sales tax. While those subdivisions do not have this measure on the ballot for Tuesday, they are looking at adding it later this year.

Ken Ceilinski, chairman of the Ambulance District board, said the district is waiting to see how it fares in the city and county before taking it to ambulance district voters. According to estimates, the district receives between $70,000 and $100,000 per year from the tax.

Mike Phillips, Barry County E-911 director, said his board has discussed the measure, but is split on whether to bring it up or not.

"I think this week we'll come to a decision on it," he said. "I have a feeling we'll probably put it in front of voters, because we'd be looking at a loss of about $60,000 to $90,000 per year. Once we get our building paid off, that will free up some money, but that's not for another 10 years down the road."

The language on the county's April 5 ballot measure reads: "Shall the County of Barry continue applying and collecting the local sales tax on the titling of Motor Vehicles, Trailers, Boats, and Outboard Motors that were purchased from a source other than a licensed Missouri dealer? Approval of this measure will not result in a reduction of local revenue to provide for vital services for the County of Barry and it will not place Missouri Dealers of Motor Vehicles, Outboard Motors, Boats and Trailers at a competitive disadvantage to non-Missouri Dealers of Vehicles, Outboard Motors, Boats, and Trailers."

The language on the city of Cassville's ballot measure reads: Shall the City of Cassville continue applying and collecting the local sales tax on the titling of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors that were purchased from a source other than a licensed Missouri dealer? Approval of this measure will not result in a reduction of local revenue to provide for vital services for the City of Cassville and it will not place Missouri dealers of motor vehicles, outboard motors, boats and trailers at a competitive disadvantage to non-Missouri dealers of vehicles, outboard motors, boats and trailers.

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