Columbia Due $150,000 in Uncollected Vehicle Sales Taxes

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia is hoping to collect $150,000 from uncollected vehicle sales taxes over the next three months. The sales taxes weren't collected because some residents had incorrectly implied that they were not Columbia residents when they purchased vehicles.

Columbia Finance Director John Blattel said the Department of Revenue will inform those individuals who bought vehicles from November 2008 to 2011 to pay up if they did not pay the sales tax. "As soon as they pay that sales tax, they'll remit that sales tax as part of our normal monthly sales tax collections," Blattel said.

Blattel worked with the state's Auditor's Office for 34 years. He said his experience led him to discover the issue. "When we found the exception for someone that purchased a vehicle with the city of Columbia GIS location and had not paid sales tax, we listed it as an exception," Blattel said. "We sent a letter with a list of exceptions to the state."

Consumers in Columbia are charged a 2% city sales tax when they purchase vehicles. The city's sales taxes go to fund transportation, capital improvements and parks.

Blattel said the city is only allowed to collect on unpaid sales taxes going back three years.