Map of Missouri
Elias Tsapelas

Missourians have a new tool to track the state’s numerous special sales tax districts. Last week, Missouri’s Department of Revenue unveiled a map outlining the state’s many special taxing jurisdictions, including transportation development districts (TDDs), community improvement districts (CIDs), and others. This map is supposed to be a step toward transparent governance. Unfortunately, as currently constructed, the map lacks the functionality to adequately illuminate Missouri’s opaque region-specific tax burdens.

Each year, Missourians pay millions of dollars in sales taxes they often don’t know exist. My colleagues have written often about the problems with these special taxing districts. Many are created without a public vote, the projects often have questionable public benefits, and they usually lack oversight. It was welcome news that consumers were going to have a resource that illustrates whether a special sales tax will be collected any place they wish to shop. The bad news is the map is incapable of showing the cumulative sales tax rate for those locations.

To find the total sales tax burden for a specific address, you’ll need to go to another website. Missouri has more than 2,000 sales tax jurisdictions, and at least 1,400 of those are considered “special.” The remaining jurisdictions are made up of Missouri’s cities and counties who have their own sales and use taxes, but none of those are included on the map.

The map, as a whole, does paint a picture of just how overgrown the state’s special taxing districts have become. Nonetheless, you would think the Show-Me State could create a map that allows taxpayers to accurately determine their cumulative sales tax burden no matter where they are making purchases in the state without having to input a specific address.

See the Department of Revenue’s new map here.


About the Author

Elias - Web
Elias Tsapelas
Senior Analyst

Elias Tsapelas earned his Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Missouri in 2016. His research interests include economic development, health policy, and budget-related issues.