Sales tax discrepancies raise concerns in Purdy

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Auditor recommends investigation by Department of Revenue

A word of warning about sales tax disbursements from the Missouri Department of Revenue was issued during an audit report at the city of Purdy.

Dawnata Hopkins, longtime auditor with the CPA Group in Monett, reported sales tax revenue received by the city from the Department of Revenue for its general fund had fallen $24,892 for the fiscal year, down about 20 percent, while revenue from the half-percent sales tax for transportation showed growth of $7,000.

“There’s no reason why your sales tax income should be down,” Hopkins said. “Business in town has not gone down that much. I’m advising you call the Department of Revenue and ask why.”

The City of Purdy receives no monthly report on what the individual businesses paying sales tax have contributed each month. The city of Monett pays additional for that report, and can see if, for example, totals are down for any given month because one or several businesses have not paid in a given month. Without that report, Purdy officials have no way to know if businesses are failing to pay or whether the Department of Revenue is withholding funds improperly.

City Clerk Debbie Redshaw said she has asked the Department of Revenue in the past for explanations about specific sales tax disbursements and received no answers.

Alderman Scott Redshaw reported one family in town had liens on a house because the family business failed to pay the state. Hopkins said “a huge amount” would have to be owed for one business to be responsible for the drop.

Hopkins acknowledged the Department of Revenue recently switched to a new record keeping system that put disbursements behind schedule. Several bi-county recipients received a second sales tax payment in December to catch up on funds received.

Nonetheless, from her reading of the local economy, Hopkins recommended the city request a full investigation of the variance from the Department of Revenue.

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