Proposal would end bias against large businesses in tax suits

While “innocent until proven guilty” is the legal standard Americans are familiar with, in Missouri, that standard doesn’t always apply to larger companies.

In tax disputes between the state and large businesses, the companies are presumed guilty unless they can prove otherwise. This “guilty until proven innocent” standard in tax disputes applies only to companies with more than 500 employees and a net worth of greater than $7 million.

Everyone else in Missouri — individuals and small businesses — has the benefit of presumed innocence unless the state’s Department of Revenue can prove illegal tax activity occurred.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has long championed for changing this double standard, allowing everyone to have the same burden of proof when facing the Department of Revenue in court.

A bill to fix this problem was heard in the House General Laws committee this week. House Bill 1455 is sponsored by Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

Rep. Denny Hoskins

Rep. Denny Hoskins

The double standard was created in 1999. Prior to that year, all taxpayers were presumed guilty in tax cases. However in 1999, the Missouri Chamber championed legislation shifting the burden of proof to the department in most cases.

Now, the Missouri Chamber is working to make this standard fair and equal for all taxpayers.

“If you believe that our smaller taxpayers shouldn’t have to prove their innocence, the same concept should apply to everyone,” said Tracy King, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber.

The committee has not yet voted on Rep. Hoskin’s proposal.

For more information about tax issues please contact, contact Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, at tking@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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One thought on “Proposal would end bias against large businesses in tax suits

  1. Pingback: More progress on proposal to halt tax court double standard | Missouri Chamber

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