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Don't Pay Your Taxes? A New Law Could Close Your Business

A new law means St. Louis County business owners will be required to show proof they've paid their personal property taxes, or else.

A new legislation in St. Louis County could mean some extra steps and a little pinch for some West County business owners.

Beginning on Sept. 4, the new law will prevent business owners from getting the permits and licenses they need in order to run their businesses if they haven’t paid their property taxes.

“If you own a Saint Louis County-based company that’s delinquent on any of its personal property taxes, you won’t get any annual license or permit from us until you pay what you owe,” said Eugene Leung, Director of Revenue for Saint Louis County in a press release.

He added that while the vast majority of companies who do business in the area pay their personal property taxes on time, there’s approximately $25 to $35 million in unpaid commercial property tax revenue.

“We intend to collect (it) with our new ordinance,” he said.

In Town and Country and Manchester, some of the business licenses are issued by the city, but for the unincorporated areas and for certain circumstances, they're issued by St. Louis County.

Once the law goes into effect, those who need any yearly license or permit from the county to operate will be required to show proof that the businesses’ personal property tax has been paid—and without it, licenses won’t be issued, which means businesses can’t remain open.

The law will apply to a variety of area businesses, including those who require electrical licenses, waste vehicle licenses, restaurant permits, liquor licenses and coin-operated amusement devices.

It’s much like the current law for Missouri drivers that requires them to show proof that their personal property tax is paid before they can be issued vehicle plates.

Leung said the county didn’t do it to be heavy-handed, but that everyone needed to play by the same rules.  The county needs to collect what it’s owed, he added.

Concerned? Check your information online.

If you live in St. Louis County, you can check on your personal property account information at St. Louis County’s revenue website.

If you would rather speak to someone on the phone, you can call 314-615-5500, or you can visit any St. Louis County office, including the one located at 21 Village Square Shopping Center in Hazelwood.

About Getting a Receipt

If you are behind in your taxes, remember that if you need a receipt immediately, you should pay in-person at one of the county offices so you can get a “paid” stamp. Online payment options are also available, but could take up to a week to process before you’ll receive a receipt.

How do you feel about the new law? Do you think businesses should be forced to close their doors if they don't pay their taxes? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

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