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Boone County Commission votes to add 'Wayfair tax' to April ballot

The Boone County Commission voted unanimously to add an internet sales tax to the April ballot during its regular meeting Thursday afternoon.

The measure will appear on the ballot April 5. If approved by voters, the tax would go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

The so-called “Wayfair tax” would apply to all out-of-state goods bought within Boone County. It would also apply to internet sales from online retailers.

Currently, there is no sales tax on online purchases in Boone County. This measure would impose a tax at the same rate as the county sales tax, which is 5.975%.

Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation last June allowing cities and counties to collect these taxes. The Columbia City Council voted to have a similar measure on the ballot in April, joining several other cities in the county, including Ashland, Centralia and Sturgeon, according to previous Missourian reporting.

“It’s not a new tax,” Commissioner Dan Atwill said during the meeting.

Northern Commissioner Janet Thompson said she hopes voters will support the ballot measure.

“It’s like a coin,” she said. “It’s got two sides. On one side is the local sales, and on the other is remote sales. This will allow us to capture the tax on both sides of the coin.”

Thompson said that this tax will help level the playing field between large online retailers and local businesses.

“The people that have the stores here locally,” she said, “that’s a huge piece of our community. And if we don’t support them with leveling the playing field, then they’ll disappear.”

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.