Some Cape Girardeau County businesses remain open after losing sales tax licenses

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So far this year, 20 Cape Girardeau County businesses have lost their sales tax licenses for failing to turn tax payments over to the state.

Many of the businesses listed on the Missouri Department of Revenue's "Who Is Not Paying" website are no longer operating, but some remain open.

Businesses can have their sales tax licenses revoked for failing to send sales tax collected from its customers to the Department of Revenue. A business can also lose its license for failing to send income taxes withheld on behalf of its employees to the Department of Revenue.

In several instances, local businesses that have lost their sales tax licenses have closed. Calix Coffee, Phyllis's Fashion and The Phat Cat, all on Broadway in Cape Girardeau, have closed and according to the list still owe state sales tax. Glitz N Glamour on Spanish Street and The Keg Shop on Independence Street in Cape Girardeau also closed earlier this year and are listed as owing state taxes. Mario's Pasta House in Jackson appears on the list as well. It has been closed for several months although a sign indicates it will reopen soon.

Cape Girardeau Brewing Co. LLC, which operates Buckner Brewing Co., on Main Street lost its state sales tax license March 2, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue. The company owes $35,606 in tax liens filed this year, the largest amount among local businesses listed to the state in unpaid taxes, court records show. Records don't indicate if the amount is unpaid sales tax, employee income tax or both.

The business continues to operate and its owner, Phil Brinson, did not respond to calls placed Monday and Tuesday requesting comment.

King Marine, 1225 S. Kings­highway, appears on the license revocation list as well, but owner Shawn King said he sent a money order to the Department of Revenue last week. He said the revocation was the result of a misunderstanding that has now been resolved and he continues to operate. Court records show he reportedly owed the state $1,821 in back taxes.

People may report a business still operating with a revoked sales tax license by sending an email to revocations@dor.mo.gov. Their identity and email address are kept confidential.

"If a business has its license revoked and the department finds out a business is still operating without it, the department investigates to make sure the allegation is true," said Ted Farnen, director of communications for the Missouri Department of Revenue. Farnen said he cannot comment on any ongoing investigations.

Businesses face a civil penalty of $500 for the first day of illegal operation and $100 for each day after, up to $10,000, if found to be operating after their sales tax license has been revoked, Farnen said.

Businesses receive final notification that their sales tax license has been revoked through the mail.

"To get to the point that we revoke a license, many phone calls and written notices noting the overdue taxes have been sent to the business which owes the back taxes," Farnen said.

In order for a retail business to receive a business license from the city of Cape Girardeau, the owner must provide a copy of a Missouri retail sales license along with a business license application, customer service manager Trisha Holloway said. Any business that is selling items at retail also must submit a "no sales tax due" letter from the Department of Revenue to the city.

If a business loses its sales tax license, its city business license isn't immediately taken away. But it won't be renewed until state tax liability is paid and the business' state tax license is reinstated, said Mary Thompson with the city of Cape Girardeau's finance department. Business licenses are renewed annually in January.

Businesses operating without a city license are prosecuted through the municipal court system, she said.

The Missouri Department of Revenue's "Who Is Not Paying" website can be accessed at http://whoisnotpaying.mo.gov.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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