SCS/SB 209 - This act modifies current law to prohibit certain municipalities from maintaining class action law suits to enforce or collect business license taxes imposed upon telecommunications companies. The act provides uniform definitions to be utilized by municipalities for business license taxes on telecommunications companies.
On or after July 1, 2008, all business license taxes imposed by municipalities shall be construed to have the uniform definition provided in this act. On or before January 1, 2008, the Director of the Department of Revenue must publish a list of the municipalities which have enacted ordinances imposing a business license tax on a telecommunications company. All telecommunications companies in Missouri must provide the director of the department of revenue and the State Auditor with the amount of municipal business license taxes paid to each municipality in the previous calendar year including an itemized list by category of gross receipts for each municipality by March 1, 2008.
Within thirty days of receipt of a written request, the director of revenue must provide a telecommunication company with the aggregate gross receipts and taxes revenue by municipality as reported by all telecommunications companies to allow the telecommunication company to verify new rates determined by municipalities. Beginning on July 1, 2008, the Director of Revenue will collect, administer, and distribute telecommunications business license tax revenues.
Effective July 1, 2008, all business license taxes will be based solely upon gross receipts of telecommunications companies for the retail sale of telecommunications services and in order to impose such a tax, a municipality must incorporate the uniform definitions provided in the act and adopt the tax rate promulgated by the Director of Revenue.
No later than April 1, 2008, municipalities must provide the director of revenue with a revenue-neutral rate for telecommunications business license taxes. The director must verify the revenue neutral rates and notify municipalities and telecommunications companies of the new rate including any necessary modifications. The maximum rate of the gross receipts tax shall not exceed five percent for any bill rendered on or after July 1, 2008, except for certain municipalities which shall be subject to the five percent limit after July 1, 2010.
The Director of the Department of Revenue and any municipality will have authority to audit telecommunications companies. The act provides a three year statute of limitations for claims of non-payment or underpayment of business license taxes. Telecommunications companies are allowed to pass the tax onto retail customers, provided the company separately lists the tax on the customer's bill.
In exchange for payment of deemed past liability by a telecommunications company which failed to pay a municipality some or all of the business license tax due prior to July 1, 2008, such telecommunication company shall be entitled to full immunity from claims for payment of any disputed business license tax payments for any period up to and including June 30, 2008. In addition to the immunity provided by the act, in exchange for payment of the deemed past liability, the municipality must surrender any protested tax payments made by the telecommunication company to such company to be disbursed to its retail customers if possible. If a court of competent jurisdiction determines that a telecommunications company is not entitled to full immunity from a municipality, such municipality must return any payment of deemed past liability to the telecommunications company.