(KMOV) -- Every time you make a purchase you pay sales tax, but that money doesn't always make it back to the state.
The Missouri Department of Revenue has compiled a list of businesses that collect sales tax but don't remit the money. Businesses can also end up on the list if they don't remit employee with holding tax.
In St. Louis County there are more than 400 businesses on what's known as the who's not paying list. The state of Missouri is owed $24,152,447 in unpaid sales tax. In St. Louis County businesses collectively owe $4,304,329.
According to Ted Farnen, a Department of Revenue spokesman, "businesses that ended up on this list only get there after a lot of collection efforts. We contact them by mail and by phone, we set up payment plans for people who have fallen behind."
News 4 checked out dozens of businesses on the list and discovered many of them are shut down. Farnen says the debt is not resolved just because a business closes.
Several businesses on the list told News 4 they are under new ownership, and the debt is owed by someone else.
The owner of the Halls Ferry Inn told us he's working hard to pay back the money he owes. Jerry Podroski said business is slow, and blames new businesses that received tax breaks in the Cross Keys Development up the road. Podroski says he's only a couple payment behind, and the Department of Revenue has never called him, he was surprised to see his business on the list.
Click here to see the Missouri Department of Revenue's Who's Not Paying list.