For Immediate Release:
Dec. 19, 2013

Contact: Eric Jennings
(573) 751 - 2583
Springfield Legislators Introduce Bills to Eliminate Wrongful Tax on Fitness

JEFFERSON CITY — Area lawmakers Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, and Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, recently prefiled legislation to update state sales tax statutes and reverse actions taken by the Missouri Department of Revenue.  The bills provide greater definition of “places of amusements, entertainment and recreation” in response to department decisions that have led to the tax being expanded to apply to fitness-related businesses and activities.

“Taxpayers expect a government that works for them, not against them,” said Sen. Dixon.  “Nothing kills economic growth and job creation faster than uncertainty.  Small business owners and entrepreneurs shouldn’t be looking over their shoulders, fearing the department will tax them unexpectedly, based on a misinterpretation of the Legislature’s intentions.  We have a duty to act so small business owners and individual taxpayers don’t end up paying the price.  I am determined to right this wrong.”

"Individual Missourians and their families pursue these activities for their fitness and well-being, as part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Rep. Burlison.  “Faced with rising health care costs, personal decisions by Missourians to stay healthy and fit shouldn’t be limited by bureaucrats stretching tax laws well beyond their original purpose.” 

The department’s use of the statute has expanded over recent years:  workout programs; arts and craft studios; fitness classes or Pilates classes; sponsorship of animals at zoos, etc.  Over the last decade, the Missouri Supreme Court has reviewed the statute in at least two significant cases:  Wilson's Total Fitness Center v. Director of Revenue (2001) and Michael Jaudes Fitness Edge v. Director of Revenue (2008).  This June, in PF Golf, LLC v. Director of Revenue, the court once again ruled that the Department of Revenue had inaccurately applied the tax.   

For more information on SB 584, visit and click on the Legislation tab.  For more information on HB 1179, visit and enter the bill number into the Bill Search function.