BULLET St. Louis City Charter Article XX Licenses Taxes*

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Article XX
Licenses Taxes*


71.610 et seq. Taxing powers

City Counselor Ops.: 8249, 8646, 9907, 10312


A fee of one dollar was a license fee not a license tax. Ex parte Smith, 132 S.W. 607, 231 Mo. 111 (1910).

City may require a license tax on motor vehicles but cannot require a display of identification that conflicts with state law. City of St. Louis v. Williams, 139 S.W. 340, 235 Mo. 503 (1911).

The city may not tax certain public utilities that are under state control. Union Electric Light and Power Co. v. City of St. Louis, 161 S.W. 1166, 253 Mo. 592 (1913).

The part of an ordinance imposing a license tax is separable from the invalid portion specifying tire widths. City of St. Louis v. St. Louis Transfer Co., 165 S.W. 1077, 256 Mo. 476 (1914).

City may validly impose license tax on street railways based upon number of paying passengers. City of St. Louis v. United Rys. Co. of St. Louis, 174 S.W. 78, 263 Mo. 387 (1915).

A merchant's license fee cannot be based on sales in interstate commerce. State v. Chapman, 300 S.W. 1076, 318 Mo. 99 (1927).

City cannot impose license tax on business that was not specifically mentioned. Keane v. Strodtman, 18 S.W. 2d 896, 323 Mo. 161 (1919).

A license tax on slot machines is valid. Edmonds v. City of St. Louis, 156 S.W. 2d 619, 348 Mo. 1063 (1941).

The city may impose a license tax on public movers. Ex parte Lockhart, 171 S.W. 2d 660, 350 Mo. 1220 (1943).

An "earnings tax" is not a license tax but a type of "income tax" or "excise tax." Carter Carburetor Corporation v. City of St. Louis, 203 S.W. 2d 438, 356 Mo. 646 (1947).

City may levy a license tax on taxicabs. Ex parte Tarling, 241 S.W. 929 (1922).

The city does not relinquish the right to collect license taxes because it also levies a use tax. St. Louis v. United Railways Co., 210 U.S. 266 (1908).

Since telegraphs are instruments of interstate commerce they are not subject to a license tax. City of St. Louis v. Western Union Tel Co., 39 F. 59 (1889).

This article is broad enough to include gas companies operating as public utilities and ps companies operating as private enterprises. City of St. Louis v. Mississippi River Fuel Corp., 57 F.Supp. 549 (1944).

Ordinance 51288 on the licensing and regulation of wreckers or tow trucks was held to be a valid regulation under the city's police power against the contention that it served more as a revenue tax than a regulatory license, was unnecessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare, established an unreasonable classification, and constituted an impermissible burden on interstate commerce. Kunz v. City of St. Louis, 602 S.W. 2d 742 (1980).


26.32--26.42a Charges, Taxes and Fees


Submission Ordinance No. 49996

Submission Ordinance Approved April 11, 1960.

Amendment Substance: repeal of Article XX and enacting a new Article XX specifying with particularity the subjects of City license taxation (Section 1), making each branch or separate place of doing business taxable (Section 2), and requiring uniformity in taxing of a class (Section 3).

Voter Rejection Date: November 8, 1960.

Submission Ordinance No. 50165

Submission Ordinance Approved January 27, 1961.

Amendment Substance: repeal Article XX and enact a new Article XX specifying with particularity the subjects of City license taxation (Section 1), making each branch or separate place of doing business taxable (Section 2), and requiring uniformity in taxing of a class (Section 3).

Voter Adoption Date: April 4, 1961.

Section 1 Subjects of taxation.

License taxes may be imposed by ordinance upon the following business avocations, pursuits, callings, animals, or things, and upon agents, agencies, brokers, contractors, or subcontractors connected therewith; and upon any sale, rental, leasing, hiring, or services rendered in connection with any of the subjects, objects, or classifications thereof hereinafter enumerated:

abstractors, certifiers, or guarantors of land titles; accountants; acetylene gas; accounting machines; acides; acoustical supplies; addressing businesses; adjusters of claims; advertising advisors, composers, or writers; advertising of any kind or by any means; aerial surveying; air compressors; air conditioning equipment or systems; aircraft; aircraft transportation; airports or airstations; alleys; aluminum products; ambulances; amusement devices; amusement parks; amusement ticket brokers or sellers; animal shows; antique dealers; appraisers; apron supply; aquariums; architects; arenas; armature rewinding; art galleries; art glass; artists; asphalt work; assayers; athletic, boxing, sparring, or wrestling exhibitions of contests; auction criers; auctioneers; automobiles; automobile dealers; automobile livery; automobile shows; awnings;

baby sitter agencies; badminton or tennis courts; bail bondsmen; bankers; banks and bankers; barber or beauty shops; barge lines and terminals; baseball parks; bath houses; battery charging; beds; bees; beer depots or store rooms; beer or wine gardens or taverns; bicycles; billboards or bill posters; billiard or pool tables, or other tables or instruments used for amusement; blacksmith shops; bleaching, cleaning, dyeing, or pressing; blue print or photostat makers; board, livery, or sales stables; boarding, lodging, or rooming houses; boilers; boiler cleaning, inspecting, or setting; bond brokers; bonding or surety companies; books; bookbinding; bookkeeping; bottle exchanges; bottling plants; bowling or ball alleys; brewers or breweries; brickwork; bridges; buffing, grinding, or polishing; building; building, house, or window cleaners; building management, operation, or maintenance; building materials; building or house moving, raising, shoring, or wrecking; buildings, or savings and loan associations; building reports; burial vaults; buses; business machinery; business brokers; butane and butane appliances; buyers' agents or agencies;

cables; calculating and tabulating machines; cameras; carnivals; carpentry; carpets; carters or draymen; cash registers; caterers; caulking; cement or concrete work; cemeteries; chairs or tables; charity solicitation; chauffeurs; check cashing; check rooms; chemicals; chemists; children's nurseries; chimney cleaning; chiropodists; chiropractors; cigarettes and tobacco of all kinds; circuses; claim agents; clairvoyants; clearing houses; clinics; clothing; coal; coin-operated dispensing machines; cold, garment, household goods, locker, lot, or merchandising storage; collectors of accounts or claims; commission merchants or agents; commodity brokers; compressed air; concerts; confections; contract haulers; contract tailors; contractor's equipment; convalescent or nursing homes; correspondence schools; cosmetics; costumes; cranes; credit associations, bureaus, or agencies; crematories; culverts; curb market merchants; customhouse brokers;

dairies; dance halls and studios; dealers or distributors of goods, wares, or merchandise; decorating; delivery of goods, baggage, or parcels; dentists; desiccating; designers; desks; detectives, detective agencies, investigators, or finders of missing persons; development companies; diapers; die cutting; dish washing machines; distillers or distilleries; docks, piers, wharves, or other landing places; dogs; dog kennels; dramshops; dredging; drilling; drivers of motor vehicles; druggists; drummers or salesmen; duplicating and duplicating machines and processes;

electricity and electric appliances; electric or compressed hammers; electrical transcription; electrical work; electrologists; electronics; electronic equipment; electroplating; embossing; enameling elevators; embalmers; employment agencies; engines; engineers, when not covered by State license; engravers; escrow service in land transfers; excavating; excursion boats; exhibitions; exporters or importers; express companies;

fans; farmers' markets; feather renovating; feed brokers; ferries or other boats; fertilizers; filling or service stations; film developing; filters; finance or loan companies; financial brokers; financing; firearms; fire escapes; fire or burglar alarm systems; florists; floor refinishing or maintenance; floor surfacing machines; flooring; fluorescent lighting maintenance; food markets; food processors; food product brokers or peddlers; foundations; freight or other forwarders; freight transfer, or other warehousing; fruit brokers or peddlers; fumigators; funeral directors; furnaces; furniture; furniture refinishing; furriers;

galvanizing; garages, garbage removers; gas and gas appliances; gasoline; gauges; gaugers; geologists; gift, premium, or trading stamp enterprises; gold refiners, or goldsmiths or silversmiths; golf courses, driving ranges, and any other golf enterprises; grading; grain brokers; grain elevators; grinding or sharpening; gunsmiths; guttering or spouting; gymnasiums, health institutes, or reducing parlors;

halls; hardware; hauling; hawkers; hucksters, or peddlers; heating; hoisting; home building; horses; horse shoers; hospitals, sanatoriums, or sanitariums; hotels; hotel or restaurant equipment;

ice; incinerators; income or other tax returns or tax services; industrial, professional, and technical instruments; information or inspection bureaus; inspectors; installation, with or without sale; insurance companies; insurance inspection bureaus; insurance, railroad and other rating bureaus; inter-communicating systems; interpreters; investment brokers; investment or trust companies; itinerant vendors, traveling, or auction stores; itinerant wholesale produce dealers;

janitor service; jewelry; job wagons; jobbers; junk dealers, merchants, or peddlers;

kalsomining; kitchen equipment;

labor or public relations counselors; laboratories; laboratory equipment; lamps; landscaping; land clearing; lathing; laundries, and self-service laundries; lawnmowers; leather goods; lenders on chattel mortgages; lifting jacks; lightning rods; linen supply; linoleum laying; linotyping; liquor; liquor dealers, wholesale or retail; lithographers; loan brokers; locksmith; lumber; lumber measurers; lunch stands, counters, or wagons;

machine shops; machinery of all kinds; machinery designing; magazines; mail order houses; mailing; manicurists; manufacturing; market places; market research; masseurs; mattress renovators; mausoleums; meat brokers; meat choppers; medical supplies; mercantile agents or agencies; merchandise brokers; merchants; merry-go-rounds; messengers; metal finishing, spraying, or stamping; microfilming; midwives; millwrighting; mimeographing; mining companies; mirror resilvering; money transportation; monuments; motels; moth proofing; motion picture projecting equipment; motors; motor scooters; motor vehicles or parts thereof; motor vehicle oiling, repossessing, steam cleaning, towing, washing, wheel aligning, or wrecks; motorcycles; moving picture exhibitions or shows; moving picture film producers, distributors, exchanges, or rental establishments; multigraphing; multilithing; museums; music arrangers or bureaus; musical instruments;

natural gas companies; navigation companies or steamboat lines; news agents, dealers, or distributors; news service or bureaus; newspapers, newspaper publishers, agents, dealers, or distributors; nuclear or atomic devices or services; numbering machines; nursery schools; nurseries or nurserymen; nursery stock; nursing service;

office buildings; office coats, overalls, towels, uniforms, or work clothes supply; office equipment; oil companies; oil cutting or reclaiming; oil, mining, or other stocks; oil or gas burners or stockers; operatic, theatrical, or other performances; opticians; orchestras or bands; organs; ornamental work; oxygen; oxygen tents; optometrists; osteopaths;

packing or slaughter houses; paint sprayers; painting; paper; paper hanging; parades; parking facilities; parking lots; passenger stations or terminals; patent right brokers; patrol, guard, or watchman services; pattern making; paving; pawnbrokers; payroll service; pension plan services; pest exterminators; pharmaceutical supplies; pharmacists; phonographs; photocopying; photograph finishing; photographers; physical therapy; physicists; pianos; pile driving; pipe bending, cleaning, cutting, or threading; pipe lines; pipes, poles, wires, or conduits of public utility companies; planographers; plants and seeds; plastering; plastics; plating; plumbing or gas fitting; pneumatic tubes; portable saws; postage stamp and coin dealers; poultry shows; power piping; power plants; prefabricated buildings; press clipping bureaus; printing establishments; printing presses; private institutions; processors; produce brokers; propane and propane appliances; public address systems; public amusements and entertainments; public carriers; public garages; public halls; public lecturers; public movers; public scales and weighers; public utilities; public vehicles; publishing companies; pumps; push carts;


race tracks; radios; radio equipment; radio or television broadcasting stations; railroads; railroad or tank cars; railway traffic; ready-mixed concrete; real estate management; real or personal property; recording equipment; rectifiers; refineries; refrigerating companies; refrigeration or refrigeration systems; rendering plants; rentals; research bureaus; restaurants; rigging; roads; road oiling; roofing; rubber products; rugs; runners;

safes; safe depositories; salary brokers or buyers; sales counseling; sand blasting; sash metal; sashing; saws; scaffolds; scales; scalp treaters; schools and academies of art, business, dancing, dramatics, expression, language, music, and riding; scrap metal brokers; sellers' agents or agencies; selling or storing gasoline; service cars; service car drivers; sewers; sewing machines; sheet metal stamping or other work; shippers; shoes; shoe machinery; shoe shining parlors; shooting galleries; sidewalks; sidewalk markets; sightseeing tours; signs; silverware; skating rinks; slicing machines; slot machines; smelters; smoke stacks; soda fountains; soft drinks; solicitors; sport events or exhibitions; sporting good; sprinkler systems; stairs; statisticians; statuary; steam-fitting; steamships; steel brokers; steel erection; steel shearing; stock or merchants' exchanges; stock brokers; stockyards; stokers; stone work; storage houses; store or office fixtures; stoves; streets; street lighting; street railways; street railway cars; street stands; surgical instruments; surveying instruments; surveyors; swimming pools;

tailors; tanks; tanners; tape machines; tariff bureaus; tattooing; taxicabs; taxicab drivers; taxidermists; technical and trade schools or colleges; television sets or equipment; tents; terrazzo or tile work; textiles; theatre sound equipment; theatrical bookings; therapeutic devices; ticket agents; tile; tin work; tires; toll bridges or viaducts; tools; trailers; trailer or tourist camps or courts; transfer companies; translating services; transportation companies; transportation tickets; travel or traffic bureaus; trenches; trucks; truck terminals; trust companies; tube cleaning or expanding; tuck pointing; turbines; typewriters; typing or secretarial work; typographers or typesetters;

umbrellas; underwriters; upholsterers; upholstering; ushering;

vacuum cleaners; vaults; vehicles; vending machines; ventilation; veterinary hospitals; vulcanizing; veterinarians;

wall paper cleaning; washing machines; watches; watchmen; water coolers; waterproofing; water works; weather stripping; welding; welding equipment; windows; window displays; window equipment; wine manufacturers; wineries; wire products; wood workers; wreckers; and wrought iron.

City Counselor Ops.: 9084, 9686, 10305, 10471

Section 2 Tax on branch establishments.

A separate license tax may be imposed for each place of business conducted or maintained by the same person, firm or corporation.

City Counselor Ops.: 9084

Section 3 Uniform tax for each class.

Any ordinance imposing a license tax may divide and classify any subject of such taxation, and may impose a different tax upon each class, but the tax shall be uniform for each class.

City Counselor Ops.: 9084, 10305


The word "uniform" refers to the measure gauge or rate of the tax. 508 Chestnut, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, 389 S.W. 2d 823 (1965).

The words "the same class of subjects" refers to the classification of subjects of taxation for the purposes of the tax. 308 Chestnut, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, 389 S.W. 2d 823 (1965).

City may validly levy a tax on the gross receipts of hotels' and motels' transient business. 508 Chestnut, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, 389 S.W. 2d 823 (1965).

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