More progress on proposal to halt tax court double standard

Legislation to end an unfair double standard in Missouri’s tax courts made progress in a Senate committee.

The Senate’s Ways and Means Committee heard testimony on Rep. Denny Hoskins’ House Bill 1455, which would ensure all taxpayers are treated as innocent until proven guilty in the state’s tax courts. Currently, businesses with a net worth greater than $7 million come into tax disputes with assumed guilt.

“This change has long been a priority of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We believe that all taxpayers should be on a level playing field. This bill would put the burden of proof back on Missouri’s Department of Revenue,” said Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs.

This fairness language continues to see widespread support in the General Assembly. Earlier in April, the Senate approved Senate Bill 829, by Sen. Will Kraus, which also contained this language. Sen. Kraus’ bill awaits a hearing in the House.

After hearing testimony on Rep. Hoskins’ bill, the Senate committee amended another bill to contain the burden of proof language, passing it out of committee. This bill is Senate Bill 881, sponsored by Sen. Scott Sifton, a Democrat from Affton.

Other amendments to Sen. Sifton’s bill include includes language stopping the Department of Revenue from demanding exercise businesses collect sales tax. Another amendment would require the department to notify businesses when there is a change in the interpretation of sales tax law, exempting the business from liability if the department fails to issue a notification.

The Missouri Chamber has been voicing concern about how recent Missouri Department of Revenue tactics are harming Missouri businesses. The chamber will continue pressing for final passage of these ideas this year to stop this harmful overreach by the department.

The Ways and Means committee also heard testimony about a bill that would allow sellers to absorb the sales tax on items sold. The practice is currently illegal in Missouri. Click here to learn more.

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

Advertisements

NEWS RELEASE – Innocent until proven guilty: House votes to extend basic right to all businesses

 Arriving in court, the common assumption is innocence until proven guilty. Yet in Missouri, that right does not always apply to some businesses.

When the Missouri Department of Revenue chooses to take a company to court in a tax dispute, the company is actually presumed guilty unless it can prove otherwise. This unfair standard applies to Missouri companies with more than 500 employees and a net worth of greater than $7 million. All other taxpayers—individuals and smaller companies—are presumed innocent unless the Department of Revenue can establish guilt.

Today, the Missouri House of Representatives voted to end this bias against Missouri’s employers on a vote of 130-13. In approving House Bill 1455, sponsored by Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, Missouri lawmakers are working toward bringing fairness to our state’s tax courts. The bill would allow all Missouri taxpayers to be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

“Fairness is the cornerstone of a functional legal system. Yet, in Missouri’s tax courts, we have different rules depending on who you are. It’s a biased system,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “We would like to applaud the House for making legal fairness a priority this session, as well as thank the Senators working on a similar measure in that chamber.”

Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, has parallel language in Senate Bill 829. The Senate legislation has been passed by committee and awaits approval by the entire Senate.