Online shopping tax bill passes Missouri house, local businesses react
HANNIBAL (WGEM) — If you don’t pay sales tax when shopping online from Missouri, those days could be numbered.
House Bill 554, or the so-called ‘Wayfair Tax’ bill, would require you pay it.
Local businesses and lawmakers said it could make retail more fair and profitable.
There are a lot of locally-owned businesses in downtown Hannibal, and all have to collect sales tax when doing business, which means if you’re buying the same things online, it might end up being a little cheaper.
“You know [this bill] just evens the playing field for them and makes them a little bit more competitive with those online retailers,” said Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mackenzie Disselhorst.
She said the bill that would require you to pay sales tax online in Missouri could make brick and mortar stores more competitive in the state.
Missouri 5th district representative Louis Riggs said that’s the biggest reason he voted to pass the bill through the Missouri House today.
“I think a huge part of it is all the money was being left on the table. It’s a disadvantage to the brick and mortar, basically the mainstream businesses that we we cherish, because they’re our neighbors or friends,” said Riggs.
Riggs said their goal isn’t to make the state more money however, which is why the bill also slightly lowers income tax.
“This is capturing revenue that’s out there that other states who have been authorized to go after by a particular business,” said Riggs.
But Disslehorst said this isn’t a magic bullet to ‘save retail’.
“I don’t think it’s the only thing that will help local businesses, it just would be a small piece of the puzzle,” said Disslehorst.
Linda Studer, owner of Mississippi Marketplace in Hannibal, said customers at her business choose to shop there for the experience instead of prices.
“[With] my size of business, I don’t know that I personally see a lot of benefit to the to charging online sales tax,” said Studer.
She said for businesses selling bigger items, those tax dollars add up however.
“You know, something that was several $100 that may impact my decision to buy,” said Studer.
With the bill passing the house, it will soon head to the senate.
Republican 2nd district representative John Eggleston sponsored House Bill 554.
Riggs said there are two similar bills still in the house.