Missouri is paying tax refunds later and later, audit finds

1 year 2 months 1 week ago Monday, January 08 2018 Jan 8, 2018 Monday, January 08, 2018 10:40:00 AM CST January 08, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Kyreon Lee, KOMU 8 Reporter and Chris Joseph, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit Monday morning describing how taxpayer refunds have been intentionally delayed by the Office of Revenue and the Office of Administration.

The press release for the audit said the state was paying other expenses before the taxpayer refunds.

"As this audit shows, my office will not be deterred from protecting taxpayer dollars by a lack of cooperation from the administration or government secrecy trying to hinder our work," Galloway said.

For instance, in 2017 the Department of Revenue had $200 million ready to be given out as refunds. However, the audit said the "Office of Administration directed not to pay the refunds because other spending priorities came first."

The following is a statement released from Governor Eric Greitens' office:

"This is another cheap ploy from a Democrat who is desperate for headlines. The only thing that is unprecedented is the Auditor actually taking an interest in this issue—she ignored it under the previous administration. We’re changing many flawed practices from the past, and this is one of them. As we address this long-standing institutional issue, we look forward to the Auditor’s vocal support (although we understand that politics must come first for her.)
 
Regarding the process of the audit, our administration provided everything that the Auditor was entitled to, which is why she had to withdraw her subpoena. Her stunts were simply an attempt for headlines. While Auditor Galloway is playing politics and posturing for the press, the Governor is working to deliver tax relief for Missouri families and fix the messes that liberal politicians like her have created."

The audit also said Missouri decreasing cash balance has slowed the refunds.

Missouri Taxpayer Joshua Naponiello said he's not impressed.

"I think the taxpayers should come first. I mean they're making us foot most of their bills in the first place, so I mean it would make sense that they should be giving us our money back," he said.

In 2017, 155,000 refunds were late and paid with interest. This resulted in an increase of 86 percent.

400,000 refunds were late and paid with no interest.

The state only pays interest if the total exceeds $1.

The audit said the state has been paying larger refunds first, to avoid larger interest penalties.

The audit can be read here.

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