The Show-Me State's Revenue Mechanisms: A Study of Missouri's Sales Tax

Key Highlights: 

  • Understand Missouri sales tax deadlines
  • Become familiar with the process of registering for sales tax in Missouri
  • Learn about filing a sales tax in Missouri
  • Analyze Missouri’s sales tax and understand who needs to collect it

Who needs to collect Missouri sales tax?

Businesses in Missouri must collect sales tax on retail sales of tangible personal property and taxable services. The following factors render a firm accountable for collecting Missouri sales tax:

  • Nexus: The company must have a physical presence in Missouri. This can involve physical presence in the state, such as a store, office, warehouse, or distribution center.
  • Remote Seller Threshold: If a business does not have a physical presence in Missouri, it may still be obliged to collect sales tax if specific economic thresholds are met. 
  • Sales Volume: In Missouri, businesses with annual sales surpassing a specific level usually are obligated to collect and remit sales tax. The particular sales level may differ, so it is critical to consult the current regulations or a tax consultant.

It's worth mentioning that some sorts of transactions or sales in Missouri may be excluded from sales tax. Items such as groceries, prescription drugs, machinery and equipment, and sales to exempt organizations such as the government or charity may be excluded. However, the exemptions and eligibility conditions can vary, so it's best to study the Missouri Department of Revenue's recommendations or consult a tax professional for specific exemption specifics. 

Missouri sales tax rates 

Missouri's sales tax rate varies by region since cities, counties, and special districts may levy additional local sales taxes. Missouri's state sales tax rate is 4.225%.

Do you have a Nexus in Missouri?

A relationship between a business and a certain jurisdiction, such as a state that requires the business to collect and pay sales tax on transactions occurring inside that jurisdiction, is referred to as a sales tax nexus. The details of the sales tax nexus differ in each state, including Missouri. Here are some fundamental rules for proving Missouri sales tax nexus:

Missouri considers physical presence within the state grounds for establishing sales tax nexus. This includes a physical presence in Missouri, such as an office, retail, warehouse, or distribution center.

  • Missouri also recognizes economic nexus, which means enterprises can create nexus depending on the state's economic activity volume. 
  • A company with affiliates or related entities in Missouri may establish nexus for an out-of-state company. This can happen if the out-of-state company's sales activities in Missouri are facilitated through affiliates or related businesses.
  • Understanding that sales tax regulations are complicated and prone to change is critical. To guarantee compliance with the precise requirements and obligations relating to sales tax nexus in Missouri, it is recommended that you speak with a tax specialist or the Missouri Department of Revenue.

What happens if you fail to collect Missouri sales tax?

  • Penalties: Penalties and interest may apply if you fail to collect Missouri sales tax or make late payments. The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) enforces these penalties to ensure the state's tax rules are followed. Here are the specifics on penalties and interest for late Missouri sales tax payments.
  • Penalty for Failure to Collect: If you fail to collect sales tax from your consumers as required, you may be subject to a penalty of 2% of the tax amount that should have been collected. This fee is levied against the vendor for any transaction in which sales tax must be correctly collected.
  • Late Payment Penalty: A late payment penalty will apply if you do not remit the collected sales tax to the DOR by the due date. For the first 30 days, the penalty is calculated at 2% of the unpaid tax. An extra 0.5% penalty is charged for each subsequent month, up to 25% of the unpaid tax.
  • Interest Charges: Besides the penalties, interest is charged on the overdue tax amount. The Missouri Department of Revenue sets the interest rate each year, which is subject to change. According to my knowledge, the interest rate was 4% per year, compounded daily, as of September 2021. However, checking with the Missouri DOR for the latest recent interest rates is critical.

How to register for sales tax in Missouri?

You can register for sales tax in Missouri by following the steps detailed below.

Determine the sales tax nexus of your company: Before registering for Missouri sales tax, you must first assess whether your company has a sales tax nexus in the state. 

Collect the following information: To register for Missouri sales tax, you will need the following information:

  • Type of business entity: Provide information about your company's legal structure, such as whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC.
  • Business Information: Provide your company's legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, phone number, email address, and other pertinent contact information.
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): If your company is a corporation or partnership, you must supply the EIN issued by the IRS.
  • NAICS number: The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) designation indicates your company's core operations. 
  • Start date and estimated monthly sales: Provide the date you began or plan to begin your Missouri business and an estimate of your planned monthly sales.
  • Other Information: Depending on your company activity, you may be required to supply additional facts such as vehicle information or information about specific permits or licenses.
  • Fill out the Missouri Tax Registration Form: You must complete the Missouri Tax Registration Application to register for sales tax. 
  • Apply: You can apply online through the Missouri Department of Revenue's web portal, or you can send it to the address on the form.
  • Wait for approval: The Missouri Department of Revenue will review your information once you apply. 

How to file sales tax in Missouri?

To file sales tax in Missouri, you must do the following:

  • Determine your sales tax filing frequency: Your filing frequency is determined by the Missouri Department of Revenue based on your expected sales volume. 
  • Register for a Missouri tax ID: If you haven't already, you must apply for a Missouri tax identification number. 
  • Collect sales tax: In Missouri, you must collect tax from your customers on taxable sales. 
  • Keep accurate records: Keep detailed records of your sales transactions, including the amount of sales tax collected on each transaction. 
  • Fill out the sales tax return: You must fill out the proper sales tax return form at the end of your reporting period. The format you employ
  • Disclose your sales and sales tax collected: On your sales tax return, you must disclose your total sales for the filing period and the amount of sales tax collected. 
  • Determine your sales tax liability: To calculate your tax liability for the reporting period, subtract any allowable exemptions or deductions from the total sales tax received. 
  • Make your payment: After determining your sales tax liability, you must pay it to the Missouri Department of Revenue. 
  • Fill out your sales tax return: After completing the sales tax return form, including any required payment, submit it to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
  • Keep accurate records: For your records, save copies of your filed sales tax returns and any supporting paperwork. 

Missouri sales tax deadlines

Sales tax returns in Missouri are generally due on the 20th of the month after the conclusion of the reporting period. However, the actual due dates may vary depending on how frequently you file your sales tax. Missouri allows you to file monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Free PSD 3d illustration of woman shopping online with application on mobile phone

  • Monthly Filing: If you prefer to file sales tax returns every month, the returns are usually due on the 20th of the month following the reporting period. For example, the return for January sales would be required by February 20th.
  • Quarterly Filing: If you qualify, your returns are usually due on the 20th of the month after the end of each calendar quarter. 
  • Annual Filing: You may be eligible for annual filing if you meet certain requirements. The sales tax return would be due on February 28th of the year after the reporting period in this situation.


In Missouri, filing sales tax is a legal requirement for firms that make taxable sales. Missouri's sales tax is an essential source of revenue for the state. Businesses contribute to the overall prosperity and well-being of the state by filing sales tax. By eliminating unfair competition, collecting sales tax maintains a level playing field for firms. Adherence to sales tax legislation reflects a company's dedication to following the law. Noncompliance with sales tax filing requirements can result in significant penalties such as fines, interest charges, and even legal action. The Missouri Department of Revenue has implemented several tools and services to help with the sales tax filing process. To summarise, reporting sales tax in Missouri is more than just a legal requirement; it is critical to the state's revenue, guaranteeing fair competition, complying with the law, and avoiding penalties. Businesses contribute to overall economic development and provide a favorable climate for growth by meeting their sales tax requirements.

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