Missouri Business Headlines

Forced to close? New state tax break proposed

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Should businesses that were forced to close because of a government-mandated shutdown during COVID-19 have to pay tax on real and personal property for that time?

Rep. Dean Plocher, the Missouri House Majority Leader, doesn’t think so.

Plocher is sponsoring two versions of legislation to address this issue — House Bills 1406 and 1407, which both allow for a tax credit for businesses on real and personal property if they were unable to operate due to a mandated lockdown.

In the March 24 committee hearing on the bills, he called it common sense legislation.

“You can’t shut me down and still try to collect money,” said Plocher.

Small businesses especially have shouldered a harsh burden during the pandemic shutdowns. In a Missouri Chamber poll conducted among its membership and the broader business community, two thirds of businesses said they expected negative impact on revenue. More than half of businesses expected that decline to be at least 20 percent. And half of businesses expected temporary layoffs.

This legislation would help ease that burden by offering businesses some financial relief from a halt in revenue that was out of their control.

The Missouri Chamber is in favor of the bills, which align with priorities in its Uniting For Recovery economic response agenda released last year. Vice President of Governmental Affairs Matt Panik testified in support at the hearing.

“I think it’s wise to take a look at what businesses should be responsible for if they can’t operate their business,” Panik said. “This is a measured approach. It does not say that counties can’t have a mask mandate or capacity restrictions, but if they do go ahead and shut down a business and don’t let that business operate, there are some consequences.”

At at an earlier hearing the Missouri Chamber also testified in support of House Bill 1408, another bill by Rep. Plocher which would waive business fees during a shutdown.

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