A new bipartisan Missouri House oversight committee plans to hold its second hearing this week on the state Department of Revenue’s (DOR) tax error that is impacting some people’s taxes.

Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight Chairman Robert Ross (center) and vice chairman Rep. Nick Schroer (left) listen to Department of Revenue officials testify on February 13, 2019 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

House Special Committee on Government Oversight Chairman Robert Ross, R-Yukon, tells Missourinet the hearing will take place on Wednesday at the Statehouse in Jefferson City. Chairman Ross says committee members want to know how the error occurred.

“The focus moving forward really needs to be, once we have that understanding and that framework set up we want to make sure that this sort of situation does not happen again,” Ross says.

The committee held its first hearing on Wednesday, and DOR officials were grilled about the error by lawmakers in both parties.

Revenue Director Joel Walters testifies the inaccurate calculation involves the federal tax deduction. He also says Missourians expecting bigger state tax refunds might receive smaller ones this year, because of the withholding issue.

Walters testifies that state tax refunds are about $80 lower than a year ago, in part because of a longstanding inaccurate calculation.

Chairman Ross is skeptical of the Department of Revenue for saying it launched a “social media campaign” last fall to inform taxpayers about the tax error. Ross tells Missourinet that Revenue’s comment is a “farce”, adding that he’s very engaged with all state agencies.

State Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters testifies before a Missouri House oversight committee on February 13, 2019 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

“I sit on the Budget Committee, I pay attention to a lot of different things statewide and I have not seen one tweet, one Facebook post,” says Ross.

Director Walters testifies that the department issued a September news release. The September 21st news release was titled “Missouri Department of Revenue updating the state’s tax tables.”

Ross also tells Capitol reporters that DOR has spent more time publicizing a bicentennial license plate than on the tax error. He notes the department held an October Statehouse press conference about the new license plate.

DOR held the October license plate press conference with Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, State Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia and State Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa. The bicentennial license plate celebrates 200 years of Missouri statehood.

“There was a lot of notoriety about a new license plate, however now that this mistake has occurred, the Department of Revenue does not want to, you know, I guess fess up, for lack of a better way to put it,” Ross says. “Let the taxpayer know that an error occurred.”

Walters testified last week that DOR has created a dedicated phone line for taxpayers who have questions. That number is (573) 522-0967.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, filed legislation in January to protect taxpayers from the DOR error. Quade’s bill would grant taxpayers who owe less than $200 an additional two months to pay, without incurring penalties or interest charges.