KCUR News
9:59 am
Thu January 14, 2010

Audit Recommends Tracking Sales Tax Exemptions

Jefferson City, Mo. – An audit finds Missouri needs to do a better job of tracking how much revenue is lost through sales tax exemptions.

State Auditor Susan Montee said the state has 131 tax exemptions, ranging from food and medicine to construction materials.

"It is a number of $150 billion that is being subtracted off of gross sales revenue. Five years ago in our report it was 120 billion," said Montee.

Montee recommends that the Department of Revenue track how much money is not being collected because of each exemption and report the figures to lawmakers.

Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen said doing so would be difficult.

"We agree with that," said Farnen, "but it'd be a way of being able to do that with the current computer systems and other resources that we have, so that's something that we will continue to investigate."

Department officials also say that there's currently no money budgeted to cover the cost of Montee's recommendations.