Q&A with Secretary Burghart, KS Department of Revenue
An Ignite Blog
Featuring Secretary Mark Burghart
Kansas Department of Revenue
We asked Secretary Burghart to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the KS Department of Revenue and the state’s budget. If you have unanswered questions, Secretary Burghart will also be speaking at our upcoming Virtual Conference on Kansas Taxes.
Q1: Can you describe the fiscal impact on the State’s budget as a result of extending deadlines for tax filings and payments? What other factors are affecting state revenue projections due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
The Consensus Revenue Estimating (CRE) Group estimated that $560.0 Million in individual income tax, $75.0 Million in corporate income tax and $8.0 Million in financial institutions privilege tax will be deferred from FY20 to FY21 as a result of the various extensions that were granted. Until a meaningful economic recovery occurs, decreases in withholding tax, estimated income tax and sales tax are also projected to continue well into FY21. A predicted 2nd wave of the COVID-19 virus would worsen the revenue shortfall.
Q2: What operational changes did the Department have to undergo in order to accommodate the changes in workplace requirements such as remote work and the movement to more digital capabilities.
In just a few months, approximately 70% of Division of Taxation employees were equipped to work from home. The efficiency of staff that is teleworking has been extremely high. Channel Management which receives and processes all returns and payments has been fully staffed on-site and operating through the entire pandemic. Over 800,000 tax refunds have been processed thus far this year.
Q3: How would you describe your experience over the last few months and how have you and your team found ways to survive and keep the momentum going?
Decisions made in 2019 to return the tax processing system to state control has allowed tax processing for 2020 to proceed without a single day of downtime. Nearly 1.2 Million returns have been processed thus far in 2020, even in the midst of the pandemic. Staff remains motivated despite the challenging times.
Q4: As the State starts to return to business as usual and we reflect on the last few months, is there anything you would identify as being a positive change or outcome at the Department as a result of the pandemic?
The crisis has given KDOR managers the opportunity to showcase their management skills, both in implementing teleworking and ensuring the safety of on-site staff. The logistics for operating in a very confined environment with appropriate social distancing has been a challenge but has been accomplished.
Q5: Is there anything else on the top of your mind that you would to share with Kansas CPAs?
Extremely difficult decisions were required to be made by taxpayers and tax administrators as a result of the pandemic. The Department and its staff will remain very flexible when resolving any taxpayer tax compliance issues caused by the pandemic. For example, letters on balance due accounts will not be mailed to delinquent taxpayers until August and pay plans will be allowed.
The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs, Copyright 2020.
Check out the line-up for KSCPAs Virtual Conference on Kansas Taxes:
- COVID-19 & Tax Implications
- Economic Outlook for Kansas
- Legislative Update
- Tax Fraud and Cybercrime Update
- Economic Development Incentives
- Kansas Department of Revenue Update
- SALT Update
- Technology Needs an Accountant's Heart