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Uncollected Internet Sales Taxes Cost Missouri $468 Million Annually, MU Study Shows

MU researchers recommend legislative action to help local economy, state revenue

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Internet, or e-commerce, sales have increased over the past two decades, comprising nearly 17 percent of the total U.S. sales in 2009. However, many states, including Missouri, have no effective means of collecting taxes on those sales. Researchers at the University of Missouri Truman School of Public Affairs found that the state lost approximately $468 million annually in sales tax revenue during the past decade.

Federal law and U.S. Supreme Court rulings only allow states to levy sales taxes on a business with a physical presence in the state. For example, Amazon.com does not charge sales tax in Missouri because it is physically located in California. However, Wal-Mart charges sales tax, since it has stores in Missouri. In the study, researchers analyzed historical data on e-commerce activity and estimated that the state will miss out on $1.4 billion in potential revenue from 2011 to 2014. (more…)

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