A bipartisan Missouri House committee blasted the state Department of Revenue (DOR) on Wednesday in Jefferson City for lack of communication regarding an error that is impacting some people’s taxes. DOR says the inaccurate calculation involves the federal tax deduction.
Revenue Director Joel Walters testified Wednesday before the newly-formed House Special Committee on Government Oversight.
“As you know, we’ve created a dedicated phone line to help individuals with this,” Walters testified. “We consistently work with taxpayers who need more time to pay their taxes or are struggling to pay their taxes.”
The dedicated phone line for taxpayers to call is (573) 522-0967.
DOR says Missourians expecting bigger state tax refunds might receive smaller ones this year, because of the withholding issue. While Director Walters said the department discovered the error in September and launched a “social media campaign” to inform taxpayers, the committee chairman, State Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, is unhappy.
“You talked about (during Wednesday’s testimony) sending out the e-mails and posters or this and that, frankly I was not aware of this going on. And I keep a pretty good ear to the ground on different things going on,” Ross says.
Ross is a senior House Budget Committee member and chairs the new oversight committee.
Walters testified that state tax refunds are about $80 lower than a year ago, in part because of a longstanding inaccurate calculation. Walters said some taxpayers will have to pay, because they didn’t change their withholding. Director Walters also noted Missourians kept more of their money, because of the withholding issue.
“We are going to have constituents losing their minds over this,” Chairman Ross told Walters. “But this is, I mean, real life. This is diapers, this is food, this is rent, this is a house payment.”
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, who attended the hearing, echoed Ross’ concerns.
Leader Quade filed legislation in January to protect taxpayers from the DOR error.
Chairman Ross told Missourinet he’s most upset at what he calls a lack of communication from DOR.
Walters told lawmakers the department issued a September press release. That press release, which was issued on September 21, was titled “Missouri Department of Revenue Updating the State’s Tax Tables.”
That press release’s final sentence in the fourth paragraph reads: “As a result, some Missouri taxpayers are under-withholding for the 2018 tax period, meaning those taxpayers may see a smaller refund or a greater balance owed than they had seen in previous years.”
Ross and Quade both thanked Director Walters for testifying and for answering their questions. Ross said the oversight committee will hold another hearing next week.