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Belton wants to tax online, out-of-state sales

Posted at 12:43 PM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 18:02:50-04

BELTON, Mo. — The City of Belton is one of five Missouri cities asking voters to approve a Local Use Tax on April 3.

Also known as an equity tax, it’s a method of compensating municipalities for sales tax lost when purchases are made online or across state lines and then brought back to the city for use.

"With the growing rate of sales that are occurring online, it means there are less sales occurring in the city of Belton," said Alexa Barton, Belton City Manager.

If approved on April 3 by Belton citizens, the local use tax is projected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in revenue for the city.

"It would go into effect the first of the next quarter, so it would go into effect July 1st," said Barton. 

The money would be used to help fund capital items like police and fire equipment as well as improve public facilities and infrastructure.

Without a local use tax, Barton said the sales tax on online purchases delivered to Belton residents is only being collected at the state or county level. People buying items out of state and bringing them back to Belton would pay the use tax. For people buying local, there would only be the regular sales tax.

"A use tax is the same rate as a sales tax, its one or the other, it's not a new sales tax, or a new tax for the citizens of Belton, it would not be collected in a store," said Barton.

The current sales tax paid to local businesses will not increase if the local use tax is passed on April 3. 

Liberty, Independence, Blue Springs, and Odessa are joining Belton in placing similar issues on the April ballot.