Halting Aggressive Practices

In a perfect world, we would have a limited government that only interferes with essential, critical, and core functions. But, when certain tax measures are necessary, they should be applied fairly across the board to every citizen and business. We have learned from recent history that is not always the case.

As the Legislature continued to investigate over the years, we found that the Department of Revenue, continually overreached into our taxpayer’s pockets. The department began charging hard-working small business owners taxes the owners never knew were due or should be collected. It became a common practice known, ‘notification by audit’. Small business owners soon discovered they owed thousands of dollars in back taxes because the DOR decided reinterpret the law.

The former governor was fond of the DOR’s flawed policies and continued to keep money from the people and small businesses in Missouri for eight years. Government overreach and the overtaxing of our businesses is hurting Missouri’s job growth and economic development. These aggressive practices must stop. They are hurting our small business owners, their families, and their communities.

It’s vital we take a strong stand and hold the out-of-control bureaucracy accountable. The Senate is working hard this session to create a business-friendly environment that will help attract more jobs to the state.

This week, the Senate tackled its first bill of the session that will cut back harmful red tape and help end the overreach of government and advanced Senate Bill 16 to the House. The measure exempts delivery charges from sales and use taxes.

In January 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in Alberici Constructors, Inc. v. Dir. Of Revenue that charges for delivery of a rented crane were subject to tax because the parties intended for delivery of the crane to be part of the crane rental. As a result, the Department of Revenue sent a letter notifying Missouri business owners that they may soon be required to collect sales tax on delivery charges.

Senate Bill 16 will put into statute a rule similar to what was previously used by the Department of Revenue to determine how delivery charges are taxed. This measure would officially exempt delivery charges from the state sales tax if they are separately stated and within an industry standard range (usual and customary). Senate Bill 16 also ensures the Department of Revenue does not overreach it’s authority by creating unfair and unnecessary taxes on consumers and businesses. The measure will also reduce governmental burden on businesses and taxpayers.

 With a new administration in charge, I expect the harmful practices to end. However, as legislators it’s our duty to keep those policies consistent, well-communicated, and clear for our taxpayers. I will continue to work for a smaller government, lower taxes, and more jobs for Missourians.

Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit

District 8