State Auditor says illegal change in withholding tax is costing Missourians millions

ST. LOUIS – A new audit released Tuesday by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway accuses the administration of governor mike parson of breaking the law.

At issue are changes made earlier this year to how tax withholding tables are calculated.

The audit concludes that the department of revenue or 'DOR', which is overseen by Republican Governor Parson, acts in secrecy about tax issues.

Galloway, a Democrat, says the DOR changed tax tables in March and October of last year.

But those changes wound up with too little being withdrawn from paychecks which is why Galloway says many Missourians owe state tax this year.

In fact, Galloway reports Missouri taxpayers are expected to pay an additional $134 million dollars this year with $232 million less in refunds.

Galloway says in January, DOR officials made another change, this time to the actual formula on calculating withholding.  That change is resulting in too much being taken out of checks for 53 percent of Missouri taxpayers to the tune of nearly $63 million dollars.

The auditor further stated that change was illegal because there had to be a legislative hearing and public comment.

Galloway says over and under withholding doesn`t ultimately change your taxes but it does cause confusion.

“The Parson Administration and the Department of Revenue need to honest with taxpayers, act transparently and follow the law.  Whether it`s over-withholding or under withholding you expect the government to get it right and inform you of what`s going on,” said Nicole Galloway, CPA (D), Missouri State Auditor.

The governor`s office fired back at Galloway in a statement, reading in part:  “We`re not interested in engaging with someone that prioritizes partisan politics and scare tactics over the long-term benefits of federal and state income tax cuts...the auditor`s office press release was clearly meant to politically pander because it ignores the positive progress the department has made in processing tax refunds.”

The statement concedes that there are bureaucratic challenges at dor.

Galloway points out that the former DOR Director, Joel Walters, resigned after a draft report of the audit came out.

DOR officials vow to keep Missourians better informed of tax table changes.

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