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Tax Amnesty Bill Heads Back to the House

missouri house floor
File Photo
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KBIA News
The Missouri House floor

A bill to remove any penalties for taxpayers who agree to pay back their delinquent taxes will head back to the Missouri house for further review.

The bill passed through the senate on Wednesday after passing through the house last month. This bill grants amnesty to citizens who had taxes due before December 31, 2014.

Missouri State Senator Scott Sifton says this is not a tax increase and is money that is already expected to go to the state. Sifton says the goal is to help citizens pay back these taxes.

“We have a better chance, overall, of collecting more revenue overall if we adopt the amnesty program, Sifton said.”

Although the bill passed through the house by a vote of 141-7 and the senate by a vote of 26-7, there are some legislators who are concerned about the use of this proposal for a long-term budget.

“If you use that short-term revenue, that one-time revenue gain, as a budget item as opposed to funding a specific project or something, then you are getting cross-wired with what makes good financial sense, Missouri State Senator Ed Emery said.”

The Missouri Legislative Research Committee estimates the proposal will raise about $20 million in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

Sifton said this proposal will help taxpayers in difficult economic times.

“We have been talking about doing this for some time,” Sifton said. “Ever since the downturn in 2008, leading into fiscal years of 2009 and 2010, amnesty has been on the table every step of the way.”

Although Sifton said this is a good way to acquire these taxes, Emery said this proposal ignores spending and focuses only on revenue as a way to improve the economy and budget.

“Any time you have a budget you have two choices. One is revenue and one is funding,” Emery said. “We have to make those two balance, and I don’t know that the answer is always to increase revenue.”

This proposal still must head to the chamber for review, but if this proposal goes into effect, it would be the first time Missouri has enacted a tax amnesty since 2002.

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