he local economy may not exactly be booming, but the combination of general sales tax receipts plus income from the use tax still shows Platte County is ahead of where it was in the combined categories last year.
Figures obtained from Platte County Auditor Siobhann Williams this week indicate the county’s combined total sales and use tax collections total $7,816,612 through August receipts. Williams says that’s 3.6% higher than it was this time last year.
But, Williams stresses caution. She expects the use tax receipts to trend downward the remainder of ‘09. Use tax receipts are 14% ahead of where they were this time last year, but that percentage of gain has been trending sharply downward the past couple of months.
“I expect that downward trend in use tax collections to continue. A lot of that money is driven by new development that we had last year,” she said, referencing the Tiffany Springs Market Center as an example.
She said a lot of purchases on items used to equip the new stores, such as shelving, cash registers, fixtures, etc. helped drive a boost in use tax receipts early this year in Platte County.
The county, she said, is still seeing a little new development “but not near what we had last year.”
“I think we’ll see some development picking back up when the economy gets swinging again, just because of our demographics. But I don’t see it happening in the next few months,” she said, pointing out there are still many open spots in Zona Rosa’s second phase.
“Keep in mind that I’m speculating, looking in my crystal ball,” Williams remarked.
The general sales tax revenue is down 2.5% from where it was this time last year. Williams has indicated that at least in part could be due to the fact the 2008 figure was inflated by a large vendor paying 2007 receipts late, inflating the 2008 number for a less-than-accurate year-to-year comparison.
The vendor who made the late payment only collects the general sales tax, not the special sales taxes on roads and parks. So the parks and roads tax collections could be a truer indication of economic activity for comparative purposes.
Parks and road tax revenue streams are both 2.1% ahead of where they were this time last year.
The half cent sales tax for parks has generated $4,526,417 through August, and the 3/8 cent sales tax for roads has generated $3,396,788 thus far.
Williams said the August collection numbers represent sales made to consumers in the month of June. That is based on the delay from the time of sale to the time vendors send in tax collections to the state and then the state distributes that money back to the county.
The unpredictable use tax revenue has been used as general fund money by the county.
The use tax has had a volatile history of collections in Platte County, sometimes taking sharp spikes or drops that are hard to explain.
The use tax is imposed on the use, storage or consumption of tangible personal property shipped into Missouri from out of state.
The amount of use tax paid on a transaction depends on the combined local sales tax rate in effect at the Missouri location to which the personal property is shipped.
Use tax is paid in one of two ways–either the out-of-state seller will collect and remit the use tax directly to the Missouri Department of Revenue, or the purchaser is responsible for remitting the tax to the department if the out-of-state seller does not collect use tax on the transaction.
Individuals may owe use tax if online or out-of-state purchases exceed $2,000 in a calendar year and Missouri use tax was not charged on the purchases.
In Platte County, Williams said traditionally the biggest month for sales tax collections has been September, which would represent sales made to consumers in July. ￼