KEARNEY — Like many cities before it, Kearney seeks voter approval of a use tax, which will be on the April ballot. If approved, it would mean purchases from out-of-state vendors delivered to a Kearney address would be taxed just as an item purchased in a Kearney store is.
“It creates a level playing field for our local businesses and provides needed funding for important city services,” said Mayor Randy Pogue. “It is not a double tax. You are charged a use or sales tax, never both.”
If approved, the measure would generate roughly $600,000 annually for the city while also preserving current revenues from vehicle sales tax collections that will end in November 2022, if not approved by voters.
“A use tax, or a vehicle sales tax, must be adopted by a state-imposed deadline of November 2022 in order for the city to preserve current vehicle sales tax collections. Loss of this critical revenue source will have a detrimental budgetary effect on Kearney if not approved by Kearney voters. This will also provide new revenues to address critical infrastructure repairs, park improvements, added public services like animal control, police equipment, etc.,” said the mayor. “All these items effect property value, which in turn effects our entire community.”
According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, Missouri cannot require out-of-state companies that do not have nexus or a “direct connection” with the state to collect and remit use tax. If an out-of-state seller does not collect use tax from the purchaser, the purchaser is responsible for remitting the use tax to Missouri.
“A seller not engaged in business is not required to collect Missouri tax, but the purchaser in these instances is responsible for remitting use tax to Missouri. A purchaser is required to file a use tax return if the cumulative purchases subject to use tax exceed $2,000 in a calendar year,” states the DOR website. “Any vendor and its affiliates selling tangible personal property to Missouri customers should collect and pay sales or use tax in order to be eligible to receive Missouri state contracts, regardless of whether that vendor or affiliate has nexus with Missouri.”
Currently, almost half of the cities in Missouri have a similar use tax on the books, including some in the Northland. To help promote the local effort, Kearney created an educational video for voters.
“Platte City was successful last year with a use tax and used a similar video,” said Pogue.
The video can be seen online by searching the city’s YouTube channel.
Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-6001.