Some lake municipalities seeing benefit from Internet sales tax

Lake Ozark and the Village of Sunrise Beach are eligible to collect the tax, Camden County, Camdenton, and Osage Beach are not.

Joyce L. Miller
Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK
Municipalities and counties where voters had previously approved a use tax specifically earmarked for Internet sales will be able to begin collecting the tax in January of 2022.

Without voter approval, passage of the Wayfair tax bill will have little impact on lake area municipalities where past efforts to collect an Internet sales tax have failed.

The bill was signed into law last week by Governor Mike Parson and will open the door to allow the state to collect sales tax on Internet sales from companies based in other states who do online sales in Missouri.

Municipalities and counties where voters had previously approved a use tax specifically earmarked for Internet sales will be able to begin collecting the tax in January of 2022 from online retailers with sales of $100,000 or more in tangible goods to Missourians. However, most lake area counties and cities will not see an increase in sales tax revenue from the legislation without going back to the voters for approval.

Lake Ozark and the Village of Sunrise Beach are eligible to collect the tax, Camden County, Camdenton, and Osage Beach are not.

Camdenton officials placed the use tax on the ballot two times and were turned down by voters. Osage Beach city officials have never voted to place the issue on the ballot.

In Lake Ozark, the city did go to voters and were able to get a use tax for Internet sales passed as part of their plan to address transportation issues.

Lake Ozark voters approved the use tax in June of 2020 (the regular election was delayed due to COVID). The city began collecting the tax in March of this year. To date, the city has collected $47,630. City officials estimate the tax will generate $130,000 annually.

Missouri Municipal League President Chuck Caverly said the signing of the bill eliminates the unfair advantage out-of-state vendors had. Once the tax goes into effect, they will pay the same level of taxes that local businesses have been paying for decades, and that money goes to critical services such as first responders, street repairs, maintenance for parks and other services provided by county and local government.