The city of Maryville has a use tax on the Nov. 6 ballot for out-of-state internet sales that has already been implemented by Nodaway County and Missouri.
The use tax would apply a 2.375 percent tax on any item purchased online through an out-of-state vendor. City Manager Greg McDanel said purchases currently made online from out of state vendors are not taxed by the city.
“When you purchase something (in Maryville) from an out-of-state vendor online, there is no sales tax going back to the local initiatives,” McDanel said.
The local initiatives McDanel is referring to are any of the voter-approved initiatives that are being funded by the sales tax. These include items such as road maintenance, public safety and Mozingo. These funds are from any time someone buys something in the city of Maryville.
“If you went into Walmart (or) Blue Willow and you purchased an item, you would have paid the Missouri sales tax, you would have paid the county sales tax and you would have paid the city sales tax,” McDanel said.
With online out-of-state purchases, everyone except Maryville is getting paid.
“If you purchase that same item from an out-of-state vendor you didn’t pay anything to the city of Maryville, you paid the state and the county because they both have a use tax already,” McDanel said.
McDanel said the Department of Revenue estimated an annual income of $245,000 per year if Maryville adds the use tax, six times more than what JCPenney was bringing in.
“Two hundred and forty-five thousand dollars is significant to those local initiatives,” McDanel said. “For instance, $245,000 is the equivalent to six local JCPenney’s.”
McDanel has 35-45 meetings or presentations scheduled to help inform residents of the use tax.
“We are simply on a mission to educate voters on the use tax and educate those on what the use tax means,” McDanel said.
McDanel said part of the problem is the stigma around the word tax. McDanel said it can be misleading in what the use tax is trying to do.
“The word tax is a problem, because (the use tax) is simply a vehicle that applies the local sales tax that has already been approved by voters,” McDanel said.
McDanel hopes that by educating voters, they will see the value in the use tax.
“(The use tax) applies the approved sales tax to online out-of-state vendors.” McDanel said. “That ensures that every purchase that’s being made from this community is equal, paying the same sales tax rate as everyone else.”
McDanel is trying to reach Maryville residents like sophomore Madison Hail.
“If they’ve tried (to inform) it hasn’t reached me or anyone I know because none of the people have been talking about it,” Hail said.
After being made aware of what the sales tax is, Hail said she supports it but wants to know more.
“I’d probably want to do a little more research on it first, (but) I don’t see any problems with it now,” Hail said.
A big reason why Hail supports it is because of the additional funding Maryville Public Safety would get.
“It would be hard to get that funding from somewhere else and then the better (public safety) is funded the safer we can be,” Hail said.
Should the use tax measure pass, it will go into effect in April, 2019.