Missouri boater wins sales-tax dispute

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The Missouri Supreme Court recently sided with a boater who bought a vessel in Maryland and argued that he should not be subject to local sales tax on an out-of-state boat purchase.

Missouri resident Craig Street went to Maryland to buy a Tracker Tundra he found on the Internet and was charged $191.19 in local sales tax for the boat, outboard motor and trailer.

Arguing that those kinds of taxes should not be applied to out-of-state sales, Street challenged the Missouri director of revenue and the high court said Street was right, ruling that he should get his money back, the News Leader newspaper reported.

The case will reverberate statewide as some counties and other local governments that received money from similar sales try to figure out what to do next.

The ruling went into effect March 21.

“I just decided I would try to get that refund,” said Street, a Springfield lawyer who represented himself in the case. “Over the course of three years, I can’t tell you how many briefs I filed.”

Street, who uses the boat to go bass or crappie fishing, said most people wouldn’t have pursued the case because the attorney bills would far outstrip any actual refund.

He has yet to receive any money.

“My concern is that if taxes are going to be charged and collected, that should be done in accordance with the law,” said Street, staff attorney for the southern district of the Missouri Court of Appeals. “I didn’t feel this was happening in this case.”

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