JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Have you noticed an expired or fake temporary license tag on a car while driving around the Show Me State? A new bill aims to crack down on that issue.
The Missouri House of Representatives approved HB 415 earlier this week, which advances to state senators for consideration. State Rep. Michael O’Donnell (R-Oakville) sponsors the legislation.
The bill would require dealerships to collect sales tax at the time of a vehicle purchase. Customers would be required to pay a lump sum before they can take home a car, or the sales tax would be rolled into monthly payments.
HB 415 states, “Every motor vehicle dealer licensed under section 301.560 shall collect and remit the sales tax required under this section on all motor vehicles that such dealer sells. … The director of revenue may promulgate all necessary rules and regulations for the administration of this subsection.”
By making such arrangements, a temporary license tag would not be needed, and Missouri dealerships could follow procedures of other US states. For example, dealerships in Illinois are authorized to handle most state transactions, like tax collection, license plates, and registration.
Temp tags have particularly been a concern since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago. During the pandemic’s peak, the state of Missouri waived certain vehicle registration requirements. Some area drivers say the result is a logjam of vehicles in Missouri, particularly the St. Louis area, with expired tags.
When you buy a car in Missouri, you receive a set of temp tags, with the expectation being that you’ll go to a Department of Revenue office or the DMV within the next 30 days to pay the sales tax and receive your license plates. However, some drivers opt to ride with expired temp tags because the sales tax is too expensive to pay at one time.
For instance, a car that costs $10,000 in the city would be $1,000 in sales tax, which can be a lot for many. Compare that to a $100 or $200 ticket for driving with temp tags, and you can see why some people would take their chances.
Though Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill in 2021 to help spell the end of temporary tags, O’Donnell’s latest bill represents a formality through which sales tax could be collected on car purchases on the spot, thus preventing dealers from issuing more temp tags.
If approved, O’Donnel’s bill would take effect on Aug. 28, 2023.