MADISON (WSAU) State senators have voted to make some big changes in the way Wisconsin enforces its tax laws. One change would force the Revenue Department to prove that a taxpayer was intentionally negligent in not forking up what they owe. The burden of proof would no longer fall on taxpayers. Republicans passed the measure yesterday on a 17-15 vote with no Democratic support. The bill now goes to the Assembly.
Supporters said it would assure that well-meaning taxpayers don’t get hit with extra penalties, just because they misunderstood what the tax code says. G-O-P finance chair Alberta Darling of River Hills says people shouldn’t have to pay extra just because they have a difference of opinion with revenue agents. But Democrats called the bill an easy way for cheaters to get off.
Madison Democrat Fred Risser said the measure is quote, “custom-made for those who don’t want to pay taxes.” The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said it had no idea how much tax revenue the state might lose because of the enforcement change. Some folks raised eyebrows about the bill because the state’s largest business group helped write it. Revenue spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce was just one of the groups it consulted on the idea of making the tax system fairer.