by Ivan Foley
Through June collections, revenue from Platte County’s half cent sales tax for parks shows an increase of 3.2% over last year at this time, and a tremendous gain has been seen in the county’s use tax collections.
That’s the word this week from Siobhann Williams, county auditor. Williams says so far this year the park tax has generated $3,470,927 in revenue for the county parks department, a pace slightly more than 3% above where it was at this time a year ago.
In 2008, the half cent park tax collected just $8,000 shy of $7 million for the county parks department.
The rate of revenue collections for the park tax has become a point of public attention, with the county commission’s recent decision to ask for a 10-year renewal of the half cent tax for parks at a special election in August. Critics of the decision have indicated a preference to see the county seek a lesser tax rate for parks.
The county’s 3/8 tax dedicated to roads has brought in $2,602,920 thus far in2009, a pace that like the park tax is 3.2% ahead of last year at this time.
Also on the increase is the county’s collection amount for the use tax. The local use tax collection has risen by 31% over this time last year. To date use tax collections for Platte County stand at $2,630,586. The total use tax collection for the entire year of 2008 was $4,319,541.
At this time last year, the local use tax had generated right at $2 million. This year’s pace is $626,000 ahead of last year.
According to the Missouri Department of Revenue web site, 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 use tax is paid in one of two ways – either the out-of-state seller will collect and remit the use tax directly to the department, or the purchaser is responsible for remitting the tax to the department if the out-of-state seller does not collect use tax on the transaction. Local use taxes are distributed in the same manner as sales tax. Individuals may owe use tax (Form 4340) if online or out-of-state purchases exceed $2000 in a calendar year and Missouri use tax was not charged on the purchases.
The amount of revenue generated by the county’s general sales tax is down thus far this year. Williams said general tax revenue has declined by 2.3% over this time last year. General sales collections are down by only about $84,000 from this time last year, so the loss in general sales tax revenue is more than covered by the hefty $626,000 gain in use tax thus far in 2009.
Williams said the drop in general sales tax revenue is explained in part by the fact a merchant paid delinquent 2007 tax in 2008, which impacted the county’s total general sales tax revenue in 2008. The late payment resulted in the county general sales tax revenue for 2008 showing a higher amount than it really should have. So the 2009 totals are being compared to an artificially inflated 2008 total, she explained.
But Williams says when the year is done, she expects the general sales tax revenue to be about the same as last year--which is what county commissioners estimated it would be.
“I think we’ll still end up close to flat (in general sales tax revenue), maybe just a little down from last year. Things are starting to turn around, or at least they seem to be, but I don’t see a big jump coming in the fall. (Consumers) are still going to be cautious,” she predicted.
The auditor explained the sales tax collections thus far are for consumer purchases made in the months of November through April, based on the delay from the time of sale to the time vendors send in tax collections to the state and then the state distributes that money back to the county.