August 16, 2007

Use Tax Ballot Issue Fails in Scotland County

The Scotland County Commission will have to consider other budget options after voters said no to a tax initiative on the August 7th ballot.

Less than four percent of eligible voters traveled to the polls to help decide the lone issue on the ballot as Scotland County sought to install a use tax. A total of 117 no votes were cast with just 33 voters saying yes to the tax proposal.

County officials had estimated, if approved, the issue would have generated between $30,000 and $40,000 for the county.

The use tax would have required, out-of-county retailers that mail or ship their product to a buyer in Scotland County, to collect a use tax equivalent to the local 1.25 cent county sales tax, placing such transactions on a level playing field with local retailers.

Consumers could have been required to track purchases, typically either mail-order or Internet buys, and if no use tax was collected by the seller, file a use tax return if the total of annual purchases exceeded $2,000.

The state’s use tax is 4.225 percent (the same as the state sales tax level). According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, the use tax “is imposed on the use, storage or consumption of tangible personal property shipped into Missouri from out of state. The amount of use tax paid on a transaction depends on the combined local use tax rate in effect at the Missouri location to which the tangible personal property is shipped.”

The tax initiative could be placed on the ballot at a future date for further consideration by Scotland County voters.

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