JEFFERSON CITY - Business owners and other industry experts complained to a Senate tax committee on the Nixon administration's changing tax rules without advanced notice.
Hours before the legislature's veto session on business tax cuts, business owners and local government officials asked the committee for consistency, efficiency and easier access to information in their sales tax collection processes.
Dan Smith, the director of finance for the city of Creve Coeur in St. Louis County said, "Improved communication and improved access to information, which would help us make sure that we're getting the sales tax we're supposed to get, and we're getting all the businesses that are registering with the state and are collecting sales tax are also purchasing a business license from the city of Creve Coeur."
Smith also made recommendations to the committee about how to improve communication and to come up with ideas to provide additional information.
"I think it would also be a good idea, especially with the sales tax division, maybe to have an advisory committee of groups that they collect sales tax for, public entities they collect sales tax for, I think this would improve communication and allow us to maybe do some brainstorming to come up with some ideas to provide us with some additional information and maybe then with some additional information that would help them do their job," Smith said.
Later, the Senate committee focused its questions of Missouri's Revenue Department director, John Mollenkamp, on auditing procedures that determine what sales taxes owed.
About 2,000 audits on businesses in Missouri are perfomed in a year and they collect $30-40 million in back taxes - additional taxes businesses owed, he said. Mollenkamp said the department has been phasing in a new system of audits in 2014 and have shown an increase in efficiency.
In fiscal year 2014, $72 million in back taxes were collected and the time it took to perform an audit decreased, Mollenkamp said.
"We try to do the best we can to collect all the tax due under the law, and not a penny more."
Businesses are chosen to be audited by pure auditor intuition, Mollenkamp said. However, sometimes their intuition is faulty. Now, Mollenkamp said, there is a scoring system in place to rate a businesses chances of having to pay back-taxes. Auditors use that system to ensure they choose a business in need of an audit.
Supporters of the sales tax cut bills vetoed by the governor argue the measures would undo Revenue Department collection changes imposed without prior notification.