Audit finds Mo. needs to keep better track of sales tax exemptions
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – An audit finds that Missouri needs to do a better job of tracking how much revenue is lost through sales tax exemptions.
State Auditor Susan Montee says the state currently has 131 exemptions for things such as utilities, construction materials, food and medicine.
"It is a number of $150 billion that is being subtracted off of gross sales revenue...five years ago in our report it was $120 billion," Montee said.
Montee recommends that the Missouri Department of Revenue track how much money is not being collected because of each exemption and report the figures to lawmakers.
Revenue officials say doing so would require hiring more staff and reprogramming the agency's computers, and that there's currently no money in the budget for that.
Montee, a Democrat, is seeking re-election this year. Two Republicans have announced their candidacies: State Representative Allen Icet and Thomas Schweich, a former Special Ambassador to Afghanistan under former President George W. Bush.