JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A new app could help Missouri drivers get money back from the state after filling up at the pump.

Last year, lawmakers agreed to increase the gas tax by 2.5 cents a year until 2025 to fix roads and bridges. In October, the tax jumped from 17 cents a gallon to 19.5 cents. Then, on July 1, the tax rose to 22 cents.

If drivers don’t want to pay the tax, all they have to do is keep their receipts and instead of keeping them in a shoebox or envelope, there’s an app for that.

“When you’re at a gas station, just make sure you press ‘yes’ for a receipt because that’s kind of the hardest part,” said Tammi Hilton, creator of the No MO Gas Tax app.

Over five years, Missouri’s gas tax will increase 12.5 cents, raising it to 29.5 cents in 2025.

“If you don’t want to pay the tax, you don’t have to pay it,” Gov. Mike Parson said back on July 1, the day the second 2.5 cent increase took effect. “There’s a one-page form that we’ve worked with the Department of Revenue so there is an option not to pay that tax for every Missourian.”

Instead of completing the one-page form and keeping your receipts, the St. Charles resident is trying to make the process easier.

“This is an option for Missourians to get their money back,” said Hilton, who has sold technology previously.

The app that digitizes and tracks gas receipts costs $4.99 for an annual subscription in the Apple App Store. Hilton said she is working to release an Android version in the coming weeks. Once downloaded, to set up your account, you enter your name and vehicle’s VIN information.

Then, you take a picture of the receipt, enter how many gallons you purchased and for what price, along with where you bought the gas and then you tie the information to the vehicle you filled up.

“I think the average person might see around $20 to $30 per vehicle, so a family of four or five, you’re looking at $100 and that’s just for that first year,” Hilton said.

From now until the end of September, the Department of Revenue (DOR) is accepting refund claims from the tax drivers paid last year, but you must submit a tax form.

“What we are doing is generating an auto-filled worksheet and the totals to the Missouri 4923 form, so we will email that form back over to you and you’ll be able to add in the key details like your social security number,” Hilton said.

Hilton said she collaborated with DOR for the app and there are already more than 3,000 users. She expects the rebate amounts to double the year the increase is in effect.

“There are more dollars that the state of Missouri is banking on us not asking for back,” Hilton said. “So, I think it’s just the best option for Missourians to be able to keep track of those receipts and easily track it.”

She said if families or a driver has multiple cars, only use the app on one person’s phone to submit all the receipts.

“Even if you were to download your app today and you had your receipts from Oct. 1, 2021, you can load those receipts into the app and still get your refund,” Hilton said. “I want people to understand that we might not like what the lawmakers pushed through and while we all have that option to vote, we don’t always get our way.”

Hilton said her family will be submitting their tax exemption form to the department this week. She expects to receive around $26 back which will make up for the increase she has to pay for her electric vehicle. Under the law passed last year, the state increased the registration rates for electric vehicles.

“I realized while this one [her electric vehicle] was not refundable, the gasoline on the fuel car is. Gosh, I’m going to find a way to get my gas tax cashback one way or another,” Hilton said.

Over the next five years, the state is increasing the cost by 20% each year.

The last time lawmakers increased the state’s gas tax was more than 20 years ago. Back in 1992, a hike was approved to increase the tax by 6 cents over a phase of five years. Voters failed to pass previous hikes in 2014 and 2018.

“What I realized is that the state of Missouri is not in charge of creating these laws. Their goal is to execute the laws that come into play,” Hilton said.

Senate President Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) sponsored the gas tax in 2021. Schatz, who is now running for U.S. Senate said previously that if a driver drives 15,000 per year on a car that gets 18 miles to the gallon, it cost that $1.34 a month.

Once the tax is fully implemented it’s estimated to bring in more than $500 million, around $375 million a year for state highways and $135 million per year for city and county transportation needs.

Hilton said during her collaboration with DOR, the director said a digital copy of the receipt would work, instead of sending hundreds of receipts into the department.

“It did take us a little way to get that Missouri form integrated because the state didn’t really push it out until a couple of weeks ago, so we were scrambling on our end to integrate that form,” Hilton said.

She said she’s a fan of safe roads and infrastructure but believes the state can get the money elsewhere.

“My biggest goal for Missourians is to understand that we are leaving money on the table and that this is a tax that was put on us at the pump and is not necessarily meant for everybody,” Hilton said.

For more information on the gas tax rebate, go to the DOR’s website: https://dor.mo.gov/faq/taxation/business/motor-fuel.html