Administrative Hearing Commission

Richard Maseles, Esquire

Church-operated coffee and gift shop entitled to sales tax exemption for its sales, because its purpose was a religious one. The Bridge Market and Faith Community v. Director of Revenue, No. 10-1431 RS (Mo. AHC, November 22, 2013), Winn, C.

The Bridge, a not-for-profit organization, was formed by two churches that were interested in building a “faith presence” in the New Town area near St. Charles. It sold fair trade items, operated a coffee shop, and hosted musical performers. But it also was managed and governed by ministers, and had a stated goal of reaching out to the unchurched. To that end, its employees and volunteers provided pastoral care and witnessed their faith to customers. Its application for a sales tax exemption was denied, and it appealed the decision.

The Bridge was entitled to a sales tax exemption, because it was a religious institution. It sold coffee and fair trade items in furtherance of its religious functions and activities, in order to attract potential new members. Therefore, it was entitled to a sales tax exemption under § 144.030.2(20).