Les Mason: Legislative Update

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House Approved: Outlawing Spousal Exemption to Sexual Battery

The House debated and overwhelmingly passed HB 2467.  Current statute provides that spouses have no legal recourse in the event of such a crime.  This bill removes this antiquated exception from current law entirely.

The bill was amended on the floor of the House to require a court to order a person convicted of their first offense of domestic battery to undergo a domestic violence offender assessment.  Kansas statute currently provides that a court has the discretion to require a person convicted undergo the assessment.  Typically, such an intervention takes place after the second or third offense of domestic battery.

This bill passed the House last Friday on a vote of 105-15.

Bottom Line: HB 2467 amends current law to provide for absolutely no exceptions to sexual battery, where previously spouses were exempted.  In addition, the bill requires individuals convicted of domestic battery to undergo an assessment after the first offense rather than after multiple offenses.  Violence has no place in any relationship, and this is an important opportunity to make needed changes and bring Kansas law up to date.

Taxpayer Protection Act Passed

The House Committee on Taxation recommended for favorable passage HB 2466, also known as the Kansas Taxpayer Protection Act. The bill will require tax return preparers to sign and include their federal IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) on each state tax return they prepare starting in 2021.  The PTIN is already required when preparing federal tax returns. Tax preparers would be required to include this unique identifier on state tax returns that they are paid to prepare. This bill will also afford the Kansas Department of Revenue the opportunity to prohibit paid tax preparers from preparing tax returns if they have engaged in any fraudulent or deceptive conduct. Failure to include the PTIN on any return would result in a civil penalty of $50 per return with a maximum of $25,000 in civil penalties.

HB 2466 was placed on the consent calendar, and passed the House Monday, February 10th,  on a near unanimous vote, with one “nay”.

Bottom Line: The Kansas Taxpayer Protection Act will require tax preparers to provide their Prepare Tax Identification Number on prepared state tax returns.  If the Department of Revenue has determined that a tax preparer has engaged in deceptive and fraudulent conduct, the department would be allowed to prohibit that tax preparer from preparing additional tax returns. This bill will protect Kansas taxpayers from falling victim to bad actors come tax season.

 

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