In a press release, Gov. Mike Parson has announced today Ken Zellers as the acting-director of the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR). On Thursday, Parson received a letter of resignation from Director of Revenue Joel Walters, stating his last day at the department will be Friday, March 22.
Zellers has been serving as the chief operating officer for the Department of Revenue since September 2017. Before joining the agency, Zellers held numerous senior roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev, most recently serving as Global Quality Director.
Walters has been heavily criticized for a few glitches that have surfaced since taking over the department in 2017, most recently a tax withholding mistake the agency discovered last year. A new bipartisan Missouri House oversight committee was formed this year and has been investigating the department’s miscalculation that is projected to lead to thousands of Missourians getting a lower tax refund or a higher tax bill. During a hearing, Walters has testified that state tax refunds are about $80 lower than a year ago.
Last month, Gov. Parson said state lawmakers are “grandstanding” by holding hearings about the Department of Revenue tax mistake.
Another misstep became public in May 2018 when Representative Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, grew livid during floor debate and accused Revenue officials of covering up a mistake that would have reduced the state budget by $60 million. Kendrick, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said the error was found in a financial estimate for a corporate tax cut bill.
“That is disrespectful. It’s unethical. I think when you’re talking about where this money would’ve came from, that it’s immoral. I think people should lose their job,” Kendrick said in 2018.
In a statement to Missourinet last year, Walters said members were not notified of the mistake because he thought lawmakers were going with a House version – making the old Senate version irrelevant.
Then there was the 2017 snafu in which more than 1,000 Missourians contacted the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline to report missing tax refunds or other tax return problems. Galloway said callers also reported long wait times, calls being disconnected and the inability to speak to a representative or an actual person to try to get information on the status of their refund. By law, delayed tax refunds should include interest, but some Missourians complained about not receiving any.
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