Online taxing in Carthage, Missouri

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CARTHAGE, MO – Online shopping is in the spotlight as city leaders in one Southwest Missouri town as voters to consider a use in tax.

Carthage city leaders are asking voters to mirror the town’s sales tax online.

They say it’s an issue of fairness to brick and mortar stores that operate in city limits.

“When it comes to clothing – it’s much easier to try things on here.” Says Sarah Hoover, Carthage Shopper.

Hoover says she will buy some things online, but doesn’t pay much attention to the sales tax on her purchase.

“I don’t think it would be significant enough to make a difference.” Says Hoover.

Now the city of Carthage is asking Hoover and other residents to decide whether to add the city sales tax online.

“Ours is 2.75% Because our, our taxes are broke down to like 1% for the general fund half percent for capital improvements, half percent for Park storm water half a percent for transportation and a quarter percent for fire. So that same distribution would go through the tax.” Says Tom Short, Carthage City Admin.

A state estimate puts the potential increase in revenue at $250,000 to $400,000 a year.

But city leaders add an even bigger impact would come from leveling the playing field between brick and mortar and online retailers.

“Basically making everything level so that local vendors can compete with online vendors and be the same tax on the same bill of goods of an individual. I guess with the COVID pandemic, as it came through. It just showed how many people stayed at home just purchase stuff and didn’t pay taxes on it.” Says Short.

The city administrator says there are no earmarks for how the money would be spent, but points out it would help cushion the city budget as inflation grows.

“You can just see inflation with construction goods is just shot up through the roof and depend on who you listen to this trend is gonna continue it’s not going to go away for a while, it’s gonna get worse.” Says Short.

Carthage voters will decide whether to approve the online use later this summer.

The ballot question will show up at the polls on August 3rd.

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