Second Time’s the Charm?
Drivers, it’s time to start preparing your receipts. On July 1st, Missouri taxpayers will again be eligible to claim gas tax refunds for the prior year. This will mark the second time that Missourians have had the opportunity to get some of their gas money back, and I am hopeful that more taxpayers will take advantage of the program this year.
As I’ve written in the past, I’m not a fan of the refund scheme. The bill that created the refund raised the state’s gas tax by 2.5 cents per year for five years, but avoided a public vote by offering a path for Missourians to get back what they paid in new taxes at the end of the state’s fiscal year. The catch is that you need to keep all your gas receipts for the year and file a claim with the state’s department of revenue between July 1st and September 30th to be eligible for a refund.
If the refund were too easy to claim, the gas tax hike approved by legislators in 2021 would never raise much money for state roads. But our elected officials were willing to bet that taxpayers wouldn’t want to go through all the hassle to get a meager refund, and based on the refunds claimed last year, they were correct. Very few taxpayers claimed refunds last year, but it was also the least lucrative year for claiming a refund (only 2.5 cents per gallon was eligible for refund).
This year, the refund has doubled up to 5 cents per gallon, which means that drivers that fill up a 12-gallon tank every week for a year would receive around $30 back. While the total is still not a lot, it’s more than before, and the department of revenue now has an online portal available for filing claims, which is supposed to make the process a bit easier.
Of course, I would have rather Missouri’s legislature make the process easier—something like what was proposed in the bill I discussed here—or gotten rid of the tax hike altogether. But with prices up all across our economy, every little bit helps. Personally, I did not file for a refund last year, but I wish I had. This year, I did a better job of keeping track of my receipts and will be submitting my claim once the window opens. I hope many other Missourians join me in doing the same.