Unique Challenges Faced by Small Nonprofit Organizations in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis faces unique challenges due to its tax environment which exempts nonprofits from paying property taxes as well as sales and use taxes on their purchases.

Unique Challenges Faced by Small Nonprofit Organizations in St. Louis, Missouri

The situation in St. Louis is particularly challenging due to a combination of factors, some of which are common and others that are unique to Missouri and St. Louis. On the one hand, state law exempts nonprofit organizations from paying property taxes, a practice that is widespread across the country.

On the other hand, it also exempts them from paying sales and use taxes, which is not as common at the national level. Additionally, local law exempts nonprofit organizations from the St. Louis payroll tax. As a result, even if universities and hospitals thrive, the St.

Louis Public School District and other programs funded with sales and use taxes in St. Louis do not receive any additional revenue. The tax environment in Missouri is more favorable for nonprofit organizations than the average. Missouri exempts nonprofit organizations from charging sales taxes on their own sales (think of a hospital cafeteria). They also exempt nonprofit organizations from paying sales and use taxes on their purchases.

When BJC buys 100 computers, or St. Louis University buys building materials, they don't pay sales tax on the purchase. The nonprofit sector has been steadily gaining ground for decades, especially schools, universities and hospitals, as more Americans enrolled in post-secondary education and health care increased their participation in the national economy. The nonprofit sector now represents 10% of the entire U. S.

economy. This percentage is usually higher in urban areas with a high concentration of hospitals and universities, such as St. Louis. Exactly how much revenue cities and the state of Missouri lose because of this exemption is unknown, as there is no reporting requirement for these purchases. While a solution such as negotiating tax-like payments with universities and hospitals may be difficult to achieve in the short term, at the very least St.

Louis School District should conduct a more thorough investigation to understand exactly how much revenue is being lost because of these exemptions. Addressing the problem with more convincing data, rather than with speculation, will help local governments engage the nonprofit sector in a more productive way in its shared responsibility with the communities in which they exist. In addition to tax exemptions, St. Louis faces another unique challenge: six decades of population decline have left behind a large surplus of government-owned land. Extensive federal highway infrastructure, a large park system, and several large cemeteries within city limits have further reduced the amount of taxable land within St.

Louis. NextSTL is committed to providing original stories and unique perspectives on a variety of urban topics such as architecture, development, transportation, historic preservation, urban planning and design, and public policy in St. They are always looking to add new voices to the mix and accept anonymous tips, proposals for ideas for stories and finished stories. A comprehensive guide to charitable giving and nonprofit organizations in St. Louis County is the result of many other organizations coming together, from nonprofits such as Missouri Health Foundation, Community Impact Network, and others to corporate partners such as Emerson, Ameren, Boeing, BJC HealthCare, and many others. The state reported millions of dollars in claims filed by New Heights Community Resource Center (NHRC), blocking millions more that would have been paid to the organization. NHRC's founder Connie Bobo said that no money was wasted and that from the beginning she worked hard to keep her nonprofit afloat by returning her salary to the organization and exhausting her maximum credit card limit to buy food for NHRC. Growth Force Webinar: Cash Flow Forecasting Tool & Beyond Housing is proud to sponsor St.

Louis County's efforts to ensure that all nonprofits are compliant with regulations while providing essential services to their communities. While they began requesting documentation and thoroughly analyzing some of the organizations claiming millions of dollars in food reimbursements, Missouri program managers admit that they can only go so deep.

Karla Gladish
Karla Gladish

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