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Ray McCarty joins legislators and business groups to discuss Department of Revenue unfair practices

Associated Industries of Missouri president/CEO Ray McCarty joined several Missouri state Senators, Representatives, and members of other statewide business groups in holding a media availability Wednesday to highlight problems concerning the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) and the handling of tax issues.

Several bills have been filed in the Missouri House and Senate to correct how the DOR treats taxpayers, particularly how it treats business owners in sales tax disputes.

“The Department of Revenue is not only changing the process, but enforcing those changes through what I call ‘notification by audit,’” said Sen. Will Kraus, one of the sponsors of the legislation. “This is a clear case of a government agency putting their boot on the necks of small businesses.”

“The Department of Revenue holds an unfair advantage over taxpayers, leading to perceived or actual abuse by the tax collecting agency,” said McCarty. “We want a system that is fair for all taxpayers and several of these bills provide that fairness.”

Sen. Kraus was joined by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield; Rep. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg and Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob. All have sponsored or are handling bills which will help individual small business taxpayers, or have heard constituent concerns regarding businesses who may be targeted by DOR. Senator Dixon commented that he was most alarmed when he was told by a Department official that they had no problem with his legislation because they would just find another way to tax the taxpayer anyway.

“While we have laws that protect taxpayers against unexpected decisions and changes in direction by the DOR, we have no requirement that the Department let taxpayers know when the law or regulations have changed and that places taxpayers at a distinct disadvantage,” said McCarty. “Audits of taxpayers that are not aware of a sales tax collection responsibility can ruin a business as the business owner must pay the tax out of pocket and has no opportunity to recoup the taxes from customers.”

Also attending the media event along with McCarty were representatives of other business organizations, including the National Federation of Independent Business, the Missouri Retailers Association, and the Missouri Society of CPAs.

Highlighting the event was T.J. Rehak who owns Extreme Gymnastics in Lee’s Summit, MO. Mr. Rehak told his story of how DOR has put his business in jeopardy by assessing him back sales taxes on his business that is primarily a service industry.

On Thursday, the Missouri House third read and passed House Bill 1179, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield), which clarifies the sales tax law regarding entertainment and fitness businesses. The bill passed by an overwhelming 123-26 margin and now moves on to the State Senate.

For video from the media availability, go to http://t.co/tfY44tPBun

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