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St. Louis Rams Confesses It Collected Too Much Sales Tax on Tickets

  • Dec 31, 2014 | Gail Cole

 Fans of the Rams: a few cents per head adds up.

The list of teams that made the NFL playoffs has been released, and the St. Louis Rams aren’t on it. Perhaps that’s one reason the team is grumbling about taxes.

The team insists it charged fans too much tax on sales of tickets and it is asking the state of Missouri to return approximately $400,000 in over collected taxes back to the team, along with “$445,000 appeals” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

The cost of fandom

Tickets to games at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis are taxed at the Missouri state rate of 4% and the city rate of 4.5%. Additionally, a 5% city amusement tax is assessed on ticket sales. Tax on a $100 ticket amounts to roughly $13.50

In 2011, the Rams revealed that “they were ‘erroneously’ calculating sales taxes on a base ticket price inflated by the city taxes.” About 40 cents too much tax was collected per ticket, the team says, and it wants that money back.

While the team may well have charged fans too much sales tax, it has no way of refunding that money to fans. In other words, the $400,000 would end up in the team’s pockets. Where it doesn’t belong. Sales tax dollars pass through the businesses that collect them for the state—the money never belongs to them.

At a time like this, one would think the Rams would want to placate fans.

The team has yet to comment on what it would do with the money were it to get it. Some fans have said that while they aren’t happy they may have paid too much tax, they are less happy at the thought of the team keeping that money. Putting any refunded tax revenue toward “reducing prices, improving the stadium, or community service” has been suggested.

The motivation

The Rams didn’t decide to delve into tax records for the fun of it. A 2008 state audit discovered “almost $1.4 in unpaid taxes on luxury club memberships” and sparked an on-going legal battle between the Rams and the Missouri Department of Revenue. As in, “The team owes the state X amount.” “No, the state owes the team X amount.” And so forth. The tax on tickets is just one contested item.

How does your business handle sales tax? Switch to an automated sales tax solution, and keep the fans on your side.

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photo credit: Hjelle via photopin cc

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.