For years consumers have gone to the Internet and purchased products while not paying sales tax, but instead often paying a delivery charge.

Recently, the State of Missouri has been charging a sales tax on most Internet purchases – including those on Amazon – and now the City of Ashland wants in on the idea of taxing Internet purchases.

The City of Ashland Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a council bill that will put a “Use Tax” on the November ballot. That will give Ashland residents the option of tacking on a 2% sales tax to their purchases.

“This is money we should be getting anyway,” said Ashland Mayor Gene Rhorer after the vote.

The vote came during a special meeting for the measure – at the deadline of sending measures to the county for the November election.

Ashland Treasurer Shelly Martin told the aldermen that Internet sales tax is often dependent upon where an order is taken. She noted that the vendor has to have a presence in the State of Missouri or, for those who spend more than $2,001 can self-report their purchase and pay a sales tax on their state income tax. The aldermen agreed that doesn’t likely happen often, but also agreed that the growth in Internet expenditures does not seem to be slowing.

“We could use this revenue for streets or the park – and we don’t have a fund at all for storm water work,” said city administrator Lyn Woolford.

The City of Ashland spent $65,000 this summer on an extensive storm water project on Renee Drive. That money came from savings in the city budget from recent years.

Martin said those who make online purchases from websites such as Etsy or ‘mom-and-pop’ speciality stores would not pay the sales tax. However, the sales tax would basically be on goods consumers buy outside of the State of Missouri from stores which have an in-state presence.

The 2% tax is equal to the current city tax.

~ Find the whole story in today’s Journal ~

By Bruce Wallace