One Good Reason Not to Mess with Sales Tax
- Mar 18, 2014 | Gail Cole
How many reasons do you need to do something right? When it comes to filing sales tax, one may be enough. Just ask Thomas Bisch, who now owes more than $69,000 in back sales tax (plus interest and penalties) to the state of Missouri.
Mr. Bisch was president of Bischo, a company that owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell restaurant franchises in both Missouri and Iowa. Bischo’s principal place of business was Macon, Missouri, until the company closed in September 2008.
Sales tax returns for Bischo were filed by either Mr. Bish or Jeffrey Bisch, the company’s vice president. In 2008, Thomas Bisch filed sales tax returns for February, March, April and May, while Jeffrey Bisch filed them for January, July, August and September. The June 2008 sales tax return was filed unsigned.
Of note is the language of the returns, particularly the statement accompanying the signature box:
“I HAVE DIRECT CONTROL, SUPERVISION OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR FILING THIS RETURN AND PAYMENT OF THE TAX DUE.”
Although the sales tax returns were filed in a timely manner, no payment was made. As a result, in 2011, the Director of Revenue assessed against Thomas Bisch more than $155,000 for unpaid sales tax, penalties and interest for the months January, February, March, April, May, June, August and September 2008. Eventually, the charges for January and February 2008 were dropped due to the statute of limitations. The Director is now seeking $69,287.70, plus interest and additions.
Under Missouri law, the burden of proof that a person is not liable for a tax assessment falls on the taxpayer. Furthermore, once a company has been dissolved,
“Any officers, directors, or statutory trustees of any corporation… who has the direct control, supervision or responsibility for filing returns and making payment of the amount of tax imposed…, and who fails to file such return or make payment of all taxes due with the director of revenue shall be personally assessed for such amounts, including interest, additions to tax and penalties thereon.”
Mr. Bisch does not dispute that Bischo was responsible for collecting and remitting sales tax and “failed to do so.” And he was unable to prove to the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission that he was for any reason not liable for the owed sales tax. As a result, he owes the state more than $69,000.
The case against Mr. Jeffrey Bisch was not included in this decision, No. 11-1813 RS.