COLUMBIA — It turns out that the half-cent sales tax voters approved for the Downtown Community Improvement District will not apply to vehicles that downtown residents buy outside The District's boundaries.
Ted Farnen, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Revenue, told the Missourian in a report on Wednesday that the sales tax would apply when residents of the improvement district buy vehicles, regardless of where they buy them. After further checking on Thursday, he discovered that was wrong.
"What I told you yesterday about motor vehicle sales taxes and how they are applied, was generally true," Farnen said in an email to the Missourian on Thursday. "However, I did not know about a special exemption for motor vehicle sales that is included in the Community Improvement District language in the state statutes."
Farnen said the language is part of Section 67.1545 of state statutes.
"Even though the motor vehicle sales tax rate is assessed at the rate of where a person lives, and not the point of sale, the extra one-half of 1 percent recently approved in the Downtown CID will not apply to motor vehicle purchases made by people who live within The District," Farnen said. "I apologize if the information I gave you yesterday caused any inconvenience."
Community Improvement District Director Carrie Gartner alerted the Missourian to the error Thursday morning, prompting a call and an email to Farnen seeking clarification.
District board member Skip Walther also said Wednesday that he believed, after some research of his own, that the tax would apply to residents' vehicle purchases.
District residents voted 25-15 in favor of the tax in an election by mail that ended Tuesday night. The tax will apply to all retail purchases within The District's boundaries beginning April 1.