Temp tags: New Missouri vehicle sales tax law takes effect in August

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ST. LOUIS – Summer travel in Missouri and those on a road trip playing the license plate game, counting the most license plates from out of state is usually the winner. But counting the number of Missouri temporary tags, well that’s thousands in St. Louis and across the state.

“Temp tags and expired temp tags in Missouri if you drive the roads,” said Doug Smith, head of the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association. “I see them everywhere. It’s not just a St. Louis problem it’s the entire state.”

Currently, if you purchase a vehicle from a car dealer in Missouri, you get temporary paper tags and have 30 days to pay the sales tax at a DMV office.

For instance, a car that costs $10,000 in the city would be $1,000 in sales tax, which can be a lot for many.

Now, Gov. Mike Parson has signed into law a plan to update the state.

“If you’re financing your vehicle for 48, 60 or 72 months, you’re talking just a few dollars per month that would be included in that retail installment contract,” said Smith. 

“It’s really a way to make it easier to solve a lot of problems with the revenue collection and also make it easier on the taxpayer. Keep the taxpayer from not breaking the law by titling their vehicle.”  

Smith welcomes the new law that begins Aug. 28. Not only will the Missouri Department of Revenue get upgrades to their old computer system, but customers will be able to pay the sales tax at the dealership.



“By doing it at the point of sale with these, it upgrades those systems (and) can talk to the highway patrol,” said Smith. “Those systems can talk to motor vehicle registration, and you have a seamless way to communicate all that information.”

Smith estimates the state will generate $26-40 million dollars that will fund improvements to roads, bridges, and safety.

Those temp tags you see everywhere won’t go away overnight. Expect that to be a slow process over the next four years.

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