Independence voters to decide on tax for online purchases

Posted at 8:51 PM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 12:17:56-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Online shoppers, get ready.

If you live in Independence you could soon be paying a tax on online purchases made from out-of-state internet retailers.

Tuesday, Independence City Council voted to put a use tax on the April ballot for voters to decide. 

“So many more online sales are happening. Whether you have an iPhone or personal tablet, that’s where you’re going to shop,” said Tom Waters, a local businessman and interim president of the Independence Chamber of Commerce. “The folks that are selling online kind of have an unfair advantage. They don’t have to charge a sales tax where I do.”

The use tax would apply the same sales tax customers pay at brick and mortar stores to any online order shipped to an address in Independence.

Buyers would not be charged both a sales and use tax.

“We really need it to level the playing field,” said Cindy McClain, who owns many businesses in the city, including Gilbert and Whitney Company.

Proponents of the use tax say it will be the same as what a customer would be paying in a store. They add it could bring millions of dollars to the city annually.