Frequently Asked Questions

On This Page

  1. Who has to file and/or pay the Earnings Tax?
  2. When did the Earnings Tax become Law?
  3. When did the Payroll Expense Tax become Law?
  4. What happens to the revenue generated from the Earnings Tax?
  5. How do I open an Earnings Tax account with your office?
  6. What documents do I need to provide when I file?
  7. Where do I send my tax information?
  8. I attend college outside of the City of St. Louis but use my parents' or a local address for mailing purposes. Do I need to file an Earnings Tax return?
  9. I moved during the tax year. Do I need to file an Earnings Tax return?
  10. I worked part of a day in the City of St. Louis and part of the day outside of the City. How do I treat this in calculating my days worked outside of the City?
  11. What should I do if my business had no activity this year but I would like my Earnings Tax account to remain open?
  12. What do I need to do if I have closed my business or permanently ceased activity in the City of St. Louis?
  13. Is rental income taxable for the earnings tax?
  14. Are people and businesses located at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport subject to the Earnings and Payroll Expense Tax?
  15. Is a company liable for earnings tax if they have a city facility that is being used as a warehouse, but has no employees?
  16. Does the City of St. Louis have its own extension form?
  17. If I filed an extension why was I assessed penalty and/or interest?
  18. Why didn't my employer withhold the Earnings Tax?
  19. Does a non-resident business with no activity in the City of St. Louis have to withhold on city residents who work for that business?
  20. How is the penalty and interest calculated for returns that are filed and paid late?
  21. What is a tax clearance and how do I obtain one through your office?
  22. I did not open an Earnings Tax account with the City of St. Louis. How did you get my information?
  23. How far back can I file for a refund?
  24. What are your hours of operation?
  25. What is included in individual taxable income?
  26. What is included in income reported on W-2 for E-1 and W-10?
  27. What is included in Payroll Expense Tax?

Who has to file and/or pay the Earnings Tax?

All City of St. Louis residents are required to pay the Earnings Tax regardless of where they work. Non-residents are required to pay the Earnings Tax on work or services performed within the City of St. Louis. All businesses located in the City of St. Louis, except those exempted by law, are required to pay the Earnings Tax. Non-resident businesses, except those exempted by law, who perform work, services or business activity in the City of St. Louis are required to pay the Earnings Tax.

When did the Earnings Tax become Law?

The Earnings Tax became law in 1954.

When did the Payroll Expense Tax become Law?

The Payroll Expense Tax became law in 1988.

What happens to the revenue generated from the Earnings Tax?

The earnings tax is used to pay for the general city services, like the police and fire departments, street repair, park maintenance and pay salaries for the city employees.

How do I open an Earnings Tax account with your office?

To open an Earnings Tax account please complete form E-9 and return it to our office.

What documents do I need to provide when I file?

Please refer to the instructions that accompany each tax return for any necessary and supporting documentation.

Where do I send my tax information?

I attend college outside of the City of St. Louis but use my parents' or a local address for mailing purposes. Do I need to file an Earnings Tax return?

Yes. Anyone with a permanent address in the City of St. Louis will be required to file on 100% of their earnings. You may provide proof that you have changed your permanent residence to your school address. Acceptable proof includes a copy of your driver’s license or first page of your federal return showing the new address.

I moved during the tax year. Do I need to file an Earnings Tax return?

Yes. The portion of income earned during the time spent in the City is subject to the Earnings Tax and must be reported. Use the appropriate formula provided on your tax return to determine the tax obligation.

I worked part of a day in the City of St. Louis and part of the day outside of the City. How do I treat this in calculating my days worked outside of the City?

If any portion of a day is worked within the City of St. Louis that day would not be considered a day worked out of the City per Streckfus Steamers vs. City of St. Louis, 472 S.W. 2d 660 (1971).

What should I do if my business had no activity this year but I would like my Earnings Tax account to remain open?

In order to keep your account active it will be necessary for a return to be filed. Simply indicate that there was zero income earned in the City of St. Louis and return it to our office.

What do I need to do if I have closed my business or permanently ceased activity in the City of St. Louis?

Please complete form E-5 and return it to our office. Depending on when your business closed or your activity ceased in the City it may still be necessary to file a final return.

Is rental income taxable for the earnings tax?

Rental real estate is not subject to the city earnings tax if it is owned by an individual. Rental real estate that is owned by a partnership or corporation may be subject to the earnings tax depending on the type of lease there is between the landlord and the tenant. If the lease requires the landlord to be responsible for the upkeep of the property and pays all the expenses then the rental income is taxable. If the lease requires the tenant to pay all the expenses of upkeep, then the rental income is not taxable.

Are people and businesses located at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport subject to the Earnings and Payroll Expense Tax?

Employees who work at the airport, and are not City residents are not subject to the Earnings Tax. City Residents are subject to the tax regardless of where they work.

Businesses that only have a location at the airport are not subject to the Earnings Tax or the Payroll Expense Tax. The City of St. Louis may own the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, but since it is not within the geographic boundaries of the City the businesses located there are not subject to the Earnings tax.

The Payroll Expense tax is only paid by businesses that have employees working in the City of St. Louis.

Is a company liable for earnings tax if they have a city facility that is being used as a warehouse, but has no employees?

A company that has a warehouse in the city, but has no employees is still subject to the earnings tax on the business.  They are required to file the E-234.  The reason for this is the business has physical assets in the city.  On the E-234 there is a three factor allocation formula that is used to determine if a non resident business is subject to the earnings tax.  The three factors are, Sales, The value of real and personal property including inventory, and payroll.  If a business has any one of these factors, they are then required to file the E-234, and possibly the W-10 and P-10.

Does the City of St. Louis have its own extension form?

The City of St. Louis allows extensions for businesses and individuals that file an E-234 return. To request an extension please complete form E-8 and return it to our office. As the extension only allows more time to file the return, please include 100% of the estimated tax owed to avoid accruing penalty and interest. Please refer to the form instructions for greater detail.

If I filed an extension why was I assessed penalty and/or interest?

The City requires 100% of the estimated tax owed to be paid at the time of filing for the extension. If at least 90% of the actual tax owed was received only interest will be assessed from the original date due. Failure to remit at least 90% will result in both penalties and interest assessed from the original due date.

Why didn't my employer withhold the Earnings Tax?

There are various reasons and scenarios under which an employer may not withhold the Earnings Tax from an employee. It’s recommended that you contact your Human Resources Manager. It is the responsibility of each taxpayer to make sure their tax obligation is paid, including penalty and interest, regardless of whether or not the employer has withheld. You may contact our office at (314) 622-4403 with a copy of your W-2 if you are unsure about your withholding status.

Does a non-resident business with no activity in the City of St. Louis have to withhold on city residents who work for that business?

There is no legal requirement to withhold on city residents if there is no business activity taking place in the City. The business may set up a withholding account as a courtesy by filing form E-9 and checking the "Withholding for City Resident Only" box. If the business chooses not to withhold there is a legal requirement that it must report to our office all city residents. The business will need to be set up as an agency for reporting purposes only. Please contact our office at (314) 622-4805.

How is the penalty and interest calculated for returns that are filed and paid late?

Late payments are subject to a penalty of 5% per month, up to a maximum of 25%, and interest at 1% per month, up to a maximum of 12% per year. Interest will continue to be assessed until the tax amount has been paid in full.

What is a tax clearance and how do I obtain one through your office?

Various agencies are required to verify with the Collector of Revenue that a taxpayer, either business or individual, has an active account and is in good standing. We issue a tax clearance directly to the requesting agency on behalf of the taxpayer once that determination has been made. We do not give tax clearances to taxpayers.

I did not open an Earnings Tax account with the City of St. Louis. How did you get my information?

Your information may have been reported to us by your employer, by a company, organization or agency with which you conducted business, by an agency with whom you are bidding for a contract or by applying for a City of St. Louis Business License. For additional information you may contact us at (314) 622-3291 or EarningsTaxCOR@stlouis-mo.gov.

How far back can I file for a refund?

The Statute of Limitations for a refund request is one year from the original date when the return and taxes were due.

What are your hours of operation?

We are open Monday thru Friday from 8:00am until 5:00pm.

What is included in individual taxable income?

Taxable

  • Auto & Travel Allowance
  • Auto-Personal Use of Company Car
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Fees
  • Fellowship & Stipend to Teach, Study or Research Work
  • Foreign Workers under Federal Tax Treaty
  • Group Term Life in Excess of $50,000.00
  • Military-Active Duty & Reserve
  • Profit Sharing on W-2
  • Retirement Incentives
  • Salaries
  • Salary Paid during Sickness & Disability
  • Severance Pay
  • Tax Gross Up
  • Tips
  • Vacation & sick Time
  • Wages

Non-Taxable

  • Alimony or Child Support Received
  • Auto & Travel Reimbursements
  • Cafeteria Plans (IRC Sec. 125-129 Plans)
  • Prepaid Medical Premiums
  • Purchase of Additional Medical or Dental
  • Education Benefit
  • Health Savings Account
  • Employer Paid Adoption Expense
  • Combat Pay
  • Death Benefits
  • Deferred Compensation (IRC Sec. 401, 403, 414, 457, 501, etc)
  • Dividends and Interest
  • Gambling & Lottery Winnings
  • Gifts & Bequest
  • Grants for Maintenance
  • Housing Allowance for Ministers
  • Moving Expense Reimbursement
  • Non-Compete Agreement
  • Pension & Social Security
  • Proceeds from Insurance Policies
  • Qualified Profit Sharing Distributions
  • Scholarships
  • Disability Insurance Benefits
  • Stock Options (12/19/00 & thereafter)
  • Stock Appreciation Rights (SAR)
  • Stock Options Granted
  • Non-Statutory (box 12V)
  • Statutory
  • Interest and Gains
  • ISO
  • Supplemental Unemployment Benefits SUB pay
  • Third Party Sick Pay from Insurance Companies
  • Tuition Reimbursements
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Workmen’s Compensation

What is included in income reported on W-2 for E-1 and W-10?

Taxable

  • Auto and Travel Allowance
  • Auto-Personal use of Company Car
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Fees
  • Fellowship and Stipend to Teach, Study or Research
  • Foreign Workers Under Federal tax Treaty
  • Group Term Life In Excess of $50,000
  • Military-Active Duty and Reserve
  • Profit Sharing on W-2
  • Retirement Incentives
  • Salaries
  • Salary Paid During Sickness and Disability
  • Severance Pay
  • Tax Gross Up
  • Tips
  • Vacation and Sick time Paid in Lump Sum
  • Wages

Non-Taxable

  • Auto and travel Reimbursements
  • Cafeteria Plans (IRC Sec. 125-129 Plans)
  • Prepaid Medical Premiums
  • Purchase of Additional Medical or Dental
  • Purchase of Additional Medical or Dental
  • Education Benefit
  • Health Saving Account
  • Employer Paid Adoption Expense
  • Combat Pay
  • Death Benefits
  • Deferred Compensation (IRC Sec. 401, 403, 414, 457, 501, etc)
  • Disability insurance Benefits
  • Housing Allowance for Ministers
  • Moving Expense Reimbursement
  • Non-Compete Agreement
  • Stock Options (12/19/00 & thereafter)
  • Stock Appreciation Rights (SAR)
  • Stock Options Granted
  • Non-Statutory (box 12V)
  • Statutory
  • Interest and Gains
  • ISO
  • Supplemental Unemployment Benefits SUB pay
  • Third Party Sick Pay from Insurance Companies
  • Tuition Reimbursements
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Workmen’s Compensation

What is included in Payroll Expense Tax?

Taxable

  • Auto & Travel Allowance
  • Auto-Personal Use of Company Car
  • Bonuses
  • Cafeteria Plans (IRC Sec. 125-129 Plans)
  • Prepaid Medical Premiums
  • Purchase of additional medical or dental insurance
  • Education Benefit
  • Health Savings Account
  • Employer Paid Adoption Expense
  • Commissions
  • Deferred Compensation (IRC Sec. 401, 403, 414, 457, 501 etc.)
  • Fees
  • Foreign Workers with Federal Tax Treaty
  • Group Term Life in Excess of $50,000.00
  • Profit Sharing reported on W-2
  • Retirement Incentives
  • Salaries
  • Salary Paid during Sickness & Disability
  • Severance Pay
  • Stock Options
  • Stock Appreciation Rights (SAR)
  • Stock Options Granted
  • Non-Statutory (box 12V)
  • Statutory
  • Interest and Gains
  • ISO
  • Tax Gross Up
  • Vacation & Sick Time Paid in a Lump Sum
  • Wages

Non-Taxable

  • Auto & Travel Reimbursements
  • Moving Expense Reimbursement
  • Disability Insurance Benefits
  • Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB Pay)
  • Third Party Sick Pay from Insurance Companies
  • Tips
  • Tuition Reimbursements
  • Workmen’s Compensation