Motorists to start filing for fuel tax rebate in Missouri in coming months | Politics

Jean J. Sanders

JEFFERSON CITY — Motorists who have been saving their fuel receipts will soon be able to start submitting them to the state for a refund.

Lawmakers who voted to raise the state’s gasoline tax last year included a rebate option for motorists, allowing them to file for refunds after the end of each state fiscal year, on June 30.

Woman pumps gas in Hazelwood

Judy Busso, a receptionist at First Missouri Credit Union, pumps free gas for Kenya Townsend  of Hazelwood on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, as part of a promotion in Mehlville. Photo by Christian Gooden, [email protected]

Anne Marie Moy, spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said Tuesday the agency would make an electronic filing method available in June.

“We expect the form will be posted to the DOR website in May and the electronic filing method to be available sometime in June,” Moy said.

The state’s motor fuel tax jumped 2.5 cents on Oct. 1 to 19.5 cents after a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers voted for the increase to fund road projects.

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The tax will eventually increase by another 10 cents — 2.5 cents each July 1 — until it reaches 29.5 cents per gallon on July 1, 2025.

The law said motorists may save purchase receipts and fill out an online form at the start of each state fiscal year, on July 1, to earn a refund on new fuel taxes paid the previous fiscal year. Motorists will have until Sept. 30 to file for a refund for the current fiscal year.

A claim, which may be filed electronically, must contain a vehicle identification number, date of fuel sale, name and address of fuel buyer, name and address of fuel seller, number of gallons purchased and, separately, the number of gallons purchased and charged Missouri fuel tax.

The average price of gasoline in Missouri stood at about $2.75 when lawmakers approved the hike in May.

Since then, the average price hit a high of about $3.90 before falling in recent weeks to about $3.70 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Rising prices sparked efforts in the Legislature to repeal the tax increase approved last year.

A measure repealing the increase by Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, who is running for Congress in the 4th Congressional District, awaits debate before the full Missouri House.

Rep. Adam Schwadron, R-St. Charles, is sponsoring a plan that would institute a six-month tax holiday on motor fuel sales, which would cancel all of the 19.5 cents per gallon the state currently charges on motor fuel.

Schwadron’s proposal awaits a vote in the House Special Committee on Government Oversight.

Even if lawmakers fail to act on lowering the fuel tax, legislation by Rep. David Evans, R-West Plains, would simplify the process for claiming a fuel tax rebate, proponents said.

His bill would base refunds on the calendar year rather than the state’s fiscal year, meaning motorists would file for their refunds for the previous tax year by April 15, the day personal income tax filings are due.

Evans’ plan also seeks to change the information that must be provided to the state to receive a refund.

President Joe Biden is also taking steps to address high gas prices, his office said Tuesday.

Biden on Tuesday announced his administration’s intention to allow the sale of gasoline with 15% ethanol — known as E15 — during the summer months.

The White House said E15 isn’t sold in most of the country from June 1 to Sept. 15.

The action “can help increase fuel supplies, give consumers more choice to get lower prices, and provide savings to many families,” said a handout provided by the White House. “At current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average, and many stores sell E15 at an even greater discount.”

The White House said Biden had also coordinated “with allies and partners” to greenlight a “historic release” of fuel from strategic reserves, “putting 240 million barrels of oil on the market in the next six months.”

Biden has also pushed for a “use it or lose it” policy for dormant oil wells and wants a faster transition to clean energy so the United States is less dependent on fossil fuels, the White House said.

Originally posted at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 12.

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