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Can Missouri tax your coronavirus stimulus check?


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Due to a “quirk” in Missouri’s tax code, the state can tax the stimulus checks individuals received from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic. 

That is unless the General Assembly can quickly fix it. 

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, eligible taxpayers received or will receive $1,200. Two individuals who filed a joint return and qualify should receive $2,400. Simply put, because the stimulus check is considered a tax credit paid from one’s federal 2020 return, it causes one’s state income tax liability to increase in Missouri. 

But with lawmakers back in the capital city to tackle the budget and other coronavirus-related relief efforts, Republican Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer is leading the effort to ensure the stimulus checks aren’t taxed by the state. 

Luetkemeyer successfully attached an amendment to an omnibus Senate bill up for perfection Tuesday afternoon. It would carve out the federal income tax credits received under the CARES Act from one’s state income tax liability.  

And his SB 676 is expected to be modified as it sits in the House to include the same language.

“Right now, Missourians are hurting. There’s a lot of uncertainty created by COVID-19,” Luetkemeyer told The Missouri Times. “A lot of people have lost their jobs. This is just a small gesture the legislature can make to say we’re with everybody, and we want to make sure people have the resources they need to take care of their families. It’s the right thing to do during this time.” 

Luetkemeyer’s efforts received bipartisan support on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. 

“This is important to people to make sure this money stays in their pockets, and they’re not taxed on money they needed to get through this [pandemic],” Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp said. “I just wanted to say thank you.” 

More than 7,300 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus, and 314 people have died. Unemployment in the state has skyrocketed over the past month, with a majority of initial claims believed to be related to coronavirus. 

It’s up to the General Assembly to change Missouri’s tax code to prevent the stimulus checks from being taxed by the state, Luetkemeyer explained. The only other possibility would be if the federal government somehow restructured the classification of the payment, he said. 

By the time of publication, SB 704 — which Luetkemeyer attached the stimulus check amendment to — had been laid over. 

Missouri is one of six states (Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Oregon) where this is an issue, according to the Tax Foundation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.