Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a subpoena to the Department of Revenue to require the department to turn over information on its management of income tax refunds on Wednesday, April 19.
The subpoena was issued six weeks after Auditor Galloway first requested the information as part of an audit to ensure Missourians receive their tax refunds within the time period required by law.
"If the new administration intends to operate behind a wall of secrecy, I will use the full authority of my office to ensure transparency and accountability when taxpayer dollars are involved," Galloway said.
This action marks the first time Galloway has had to issue a subpoena to any government agency or department to obtain information.
The purpose of the audit is to ensure Missourians receive the money they are owed under a law requiring taxpayers receive their tax refunds on time or be paid interest. The department has agreed to provide information for previous years, but says it will not provide any information for the current tax year. The request for information includes no personally identifiable taxpayer information.
State law requires income tax refunds be paid out within 45 days of filing. If refunds haven't been paid within 45 days, the state must pay them with interest. The Department of Revenue has repeatedly refused multiple requests to provide the State Auditor with the number of people waiting on refunds or the number of days they've spent waiting. The department also refuses to say whether any refunds have exceeded the 45-day limit, and if so, whether interest has been paid.
Individuals who believe they have had their money withheld beyond the 45-day limit may contact the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline by calling 800-347-8597, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , or by using the new online submission form at auditor.mo.gov/hotline .