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McCarty attends third hearing of Senate tax practices committee

AIM President/CEO Ray McCarty attended the third hearing of the Senate Interim Committee on Tax Administration Practices yesterday at the offices of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Like other hearings, the bulk of the testimony at the hearing was from taxpayers that told stories of their inability to get straight answers from state tax officials, abusive audit procedures, aggressive positions on tax issues taken by the tax collecting agency, and perceived taxpayer abuse.  But unlike other hearings, the first witnesses to speak had a different suggestion for the Committee: ask the Missouri Department of Revenue to consistently process sales tax returns and payments.

During the spring of 2014, allegations were circulating through the Capitol hallways that the Department of Revenue was delaying processing of tax payments so that tax collections would show a decline.  There was never any credible evidence of any coordinated delay in processing payments.  But at this hearing, the Mayor of Springfield and Mary Mannix Decker, Finance Director for the City of Springfield, spoke about their experience in not receiving sales tax collections from their largest sales tax payers in a timely manner during June, 2014, from the Missouri Department of Revenue.  The state acts as the collecting agent for local sales taxes.  They then testified they received double payments in the following months, indicating that a delay in processing the payments had occurred. They emphasized to the Committee the importance to local governments of processing these payments on time at the state level.

Taxpayers, including a pool installer, told stories that corroborated other taxpayer stories of shifting DOR instructions on how to remit sales and use taxes and the horrible situations created for businesses when they simply want to know how to collect and remit the proper amount of tax.

The Committee will conclude with its final hearing next week.  AIM will testify at that hearing.

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