State Rep. Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester) is working with his colleagues in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate to advance several proposals aimed at protecting Missourians from the governor’s war on taxpayers.
During a press conference at the State Capitol Monday, Koenig said the various pieces of legislation are necessary because the Department of Revenue has continued to seek new methods for generating revenue by treating Missouri families and businesses unfairly.
“It’s clear that our governor and his administration are trying to squeeze every penny they can out of hardworking Missourians,” said Koenig. “It’s also clear that they are in many cases using very questionable interpretations of the law to impose these tax hikes.”
“Our best line of defense against this war on taxpayers is to pass legislation that will make it crystal clear that the executive branch is not allowed to abuse the people of this state,” said Speaker of the House, Rep. John Diehl (R-Town and Country). “Too often, government bureaucrats run rampant over the rights of Missouri taxpayers and the Missouri House is ready and willing to stand up to these glaring overreaches. I applaud Rep. Koenig for leading our efforts to rein in this out of control bureaucracy that sees Missouri families and businesses as nothing more than sources for additional tax revenue.”
Koenig pointed to several proposals that would stop some of the executive overreaches perpetrated by the Missouri Department of Revenue. They include:
- House Bill 299, House Bill 695, and Senate Bill 18 would make the Department of Revenue notify businesses of changes in taxation policies. Koenig noted that the Department is currently changing tax policy and collecting back taxes after auditing companies without notifying them in advance that a change has taken place;
- House Bill 517, House Bill 754, and Senate Bill 336 would exempt businesses from paying for undisclosed tips. Currently, employees who make tips are under reporting their tips and the Department of Revenue is making the company pay penalties. Federal law prohibits the employers from making any changes to the collected tips reported on their employee’s income tax even if the employee reports no tips collected for the entire year. There is no legal ability for the employer to correct the situation and the department refuses to cease in their penalty assessments on these companies;
- House Bill 268 would allow a taxpayer to recoup overpayments to the Department of Revenue. Currently, the Department notifies taxpayers of underpayment and sometimes assesses a penalty, but it does not notify a taxpayer if there has been an overpayment;
- House Bill 811 would make it law that if overpayments are held by the Department of Revenue, they must return the money plus any interest earned on that money. This is designed to stop the Department from delaying the return of tax payer’s funds to earn;
- House Bill 838 would allow a tax preparer, enrolled agent, or certified public accountant to represent his or her client before the Administrative Hearing Commission in matters relating to an assessment or reassessment of taxes, or any other tax-related matter. Currently, the only person that can represent a taxpayer when there is a dispute with the Department is a tax attorney, which is an expensive option and in most cases were not the ones who prepared their client’s taxes. The bill would also allow taxpayers to use estimates of value that are prepared by persons other than certified appraisers in informal property tax appeals before local boards of equalization hearings, meaning they may avoid expensive appraisals by certified appraisers that are required in a few counties in the state;
- Senate Bill 350 specifies when interest begins to accrue on tax refunds and requires the Department of Revenue to deposit payments within 2 days; and,
- House Bill 759 allows a business who remits their own use taxes to the Department of Revenue to have a refund when there is an overpayment. Currently, there is a limit to one refund in sales tax and the Department has applied this to the use tax.
Senator Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) spent last summer chairing a Senate interim committee that studied the taxation policies of the Department of Revenue. He told Monday’s press conference he did not like what he found.
“It has become evident that the department focused on changing definitions and policies to raise revenue,” said Kraus. “It is my belief that came as a directive from the governor, and I believe that it is our obligation as the representatives of the people to push back when government overreaches.”
Kraus will handle legislation to reign in D.O.R. when the bills reach the Senate.
“Taxpayers should be outraged at the many overreaches we have seen from the executive branch that now require us to take legislative action to rectify,” said Koenig. “It is unfortunate that we have been forced to take this route, but I am happy to work with my colleagues to pass these common sense reforms that will put an end to this war on the taxpayer once and for all.”