As politicians worry about Missouri taxpayers facing larger-than-expected tax bills — and point fingers at other politicians about who's to blame — the state Revenue Department said Friday that early returns show taxpayers overall are owing less.
Monday is the deadline for most taxpayers to file their returns, and the picture could change.
But Revenue spokeswoman Anne Marie Moy provided the News Tribune with "three different scenarios, all showing incomes and tax saving are on the rise."
In the first scenario, a single taxpayer made $35,025 in 2018, $112 more than in 2017 but — because of the changes in the tax laws — had a taxable income that was $2,798 less in 2018 than in 2017.
And that resulted in that taxpayer owing $181 less.
In the second scenario, the taxpayers were a married couple with no children.
They made $57,762 total in 2018 — $2,257 more than in 2017 — but had a taxable income that was $1,117 less, resulting in a tax bill that was smaller by $134.
And, in the third scenario provided by the Revenue Department, the taxpayers were another married couple, with two children.
They made $90,981 in 2018, or $2,286 more than in 2017.
Their taxable income was $201 smaller than in 2017, saving $63 in taxes from 2017.
None of those scenarios match the stories some lawmakers have told of constituents who faced higher tax bills last year than the previous year.
Senate Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, told reporters last week the Revenue Department has provided some assistance for taxpayers — even though he thought it came later than it should have this year.
"I know they did put up a stand-alone phone line," he said.
On its website, dor.mo.gov/WebsiteLetter.pdf, the department also noted: "Customers who are unable to resolve their tax obligation immediately may set up a payment plan with the Department, either online or by phone. Internet installment agreements can be accessed at dor.mo.gov/cacs/.
"The Department encourages customers to utilize the online service, which is quick, secure and offers the same options as are available by phone."
And, the department said: "Taxation Division call center agents will be offering abatement of penalties and will work with customers to adjust balances for interest as part of conversations with taxpayers who have a balance due."