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Senate OKs sales tax notification bill

The Missouri Senate this week gave final approval to a bill that will require the Missouri Department of Revenue to give businesses notice of changes to state sales and use tax policy.

Senate Bill 18 is sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit). It states that notification must be made by “mail, e-mail, or secure electronic means of direct communication”. Businesses would be exempt from paying those taxes if the Department did not notify them of the changes. The legislation is designed to protect Missouri businesses from quickly-changing tax policies on the part of the Department.

“We’re trying to make sure the businesses aren’t notified through the audit process,” Kraus told the Associated Press. “It’s just not fair.”

AIM president Ray McCarty noted the AIM Tax Committee has reviewed the language and several members have expressed concern that the language of the bill may still allow the Department of Revenue to change their mind on tax policy matters without notifying taxpayers, but note that anything is better than the status quo. “We fully support the intent of the bill and wish the language could be stronger, but it is extremely difficult to legislate common sense and fairness,” said McCarty.

Governor Nixon vetoed similar legislation last year claiming that it would cost the state up to $100 million a year. The Senate staff estimates the cost of the bill to the state at a little over $42,000. Kraus says changes have been made to the bill since last session at the recommendation of the governor, but according to the AP, the governor’s spokesperson Thursday declined whether to say Nixon would sign the bill. SB 18 passed the Senate on a unanimous vote, so it appears any attempt by the governor to veto the legislation would be futile in the Senate. The bill now heads for the House.

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