The state Department of Revenue (DOR) director says he should not have used the term “tax error” when describing a withholding issue that is impacting some Missourians’ tax returns.

State Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters testifies before the Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight on February 13, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Director Joel Walters testified before a bipartisan House oversight committee for a third time last week, and rejects suggestions from some committee members that he’s changed his story.

“But that’s the same story all the way through but all except that I shouldn’t have called it an error, I should have called it a judgment on my part to improve the (tax) calculation, which is what I was trying to do,” Walters testifies.

House Special Committee on Government Oversight Chairman Robert Ross, R-Yukon, responded to Wednesday’s testimony.

“So Director I guess, I mean that would be my point about how the story has changed,” Ross says. “Originally and for the first ten (different overall committee hearings) discussions of this we’ve heard about well there was a ‘error’ in the tables and it seems to be at this point that there was actually not an error in the table.”

Walters testifies DOR has processed about one million tax returns thus far in 2019. He tells Chairman Ross the average refund is down about $78, while the average tax due is up about $65.

Director Walters has previously testified that his department has not done an effective job of communicating about the issue to Missourians.

DOR has established a dedicated phone line for taxpayers who have questions. Walters testifies about 63,000 Missourians have called that number, which is (573) 522-0967.

The Department of Revenue is also placing cards at all Missouri license offices and is mailing fliers to employers requesting that they post the information in employee break rooms.

DOR has also posted a fact sheet on its website, with detailed information about the tax withholding issue. Director Walters is urging you to check your state withholding information.

“Their 2019 will look more like 2018 than it did ’17 and previous years, and if you liked getting a bigger refund like you did in 2017 and previous years, you need to take proactive action, we should be saying that,” Walters testifies.

DOR says Missouri taxpayers unable to resolve their tax obligation immediately can set up a payment plan with the department, either online or by phone.