Expired temporary tags are costing the State of Missouri millions

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Missouri is one of just a handful of states where you don`t pay the sales tax when you drive off the lot. Instead, you leave with a temp tag. Later,  you pay your taxes at the DMV to get your license plate.  That's why you'll see so many drivers with expired temp tags. Some are expired for months and others more than a year.

The solution is simple according to the Missouri Automobile Dealer's Association. Collect the sales tax when you buy your car, like just about every other state.
What is the holdup? The Missouri Department of Revenue can`t make it happen without upgrading their computer system and it will cost anywhere between $15 to $65 million dollars.

Rachel Trice says the state will get it's money back and more. She's been driving on an expired temp tag because of a computer mix up.

"Having gotten a ticket, been pulled over, driving with expired plates. Now finally it's resolved," said Rachel Trice.

Three months later, she finally has her plates. She's always had the money but the state wouldn't take it for months because their computers didn't have the right information on her car purchase.

"I was surprised and slightly exasperated. I've got 20 other things to deal with in my life," said Rachel Trice.

She sees no reason why Missouri can't collect their tax money at the time of the car sale.

"Make things simple for the little guy so that we're not, the cops aren't spending their time pulling non-moving violators over. They can be dealing with bigger more important issues," said Rachel Trice.

The Missouri Automobile Dealer'S Association Says not every driver has the same good intentions and some will never pay. It estimates that's costing Missouri as much as $45 million a year.

So that computer upgrade? Even the most conservative estimates show the necessary computer upgrade could pay for itself in less than two years.   The Department of Revenue is just waiting for action from the legislature to give the ok on spending the money.

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