Iowa goes after 46 officers for back sales taxes
CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) — The state Department of Revenue is demanding that 46 Iowa police officers pay back sales taxes from years of working off-duty assignments such as wedding receptions and business security.
Department spokeswoman Victoria Daniels said the plan is to pursue back sales taxes for up to 10 years for those officers who have never filed tax returns for off-duty jobs.
“They know they have this obligation, but there is always a subset of people who say they don’t know and aren’t paying,” Daniels said.
The Revenue Department sent a letter last week to 46 officers who owe back sales taxes from their moonlighting. The department did not provide the total amount it said is owed.
Iowa law enforcement groups have tried for years to convince the Revenue Department not to require police officers to collect sales tax from businesses and individuals who hire them for off-duty gigs. Revenue officials considered drafting a change to the state’s administrative code to exempt officers, but ultimately decided the law clearly required officers to pay up.
Cedar Rapids police have been collecting and remitting sales tax for decades through their union, police Sgt. Mark Andries said.
He’s one of two Cedar Rapids officers on the Extra Work Committee, which points officers to off-duty assignments and coordinates with businesses and groups needing services. The committee bills each group for the services and collects the sales tax off the top before paying the officers who performed the jobs.
But many other departments across the state have no such committee, leaving officers on their own to figure and collect sales taxes for the work.
Sgt. Chris Scott, public information officer for the Des Moines Police Department, said many of the officers who got letters are from his department.
Scott said the Des Moines department doesn’t have a committee like Cedar Rapids. He said it would likely take a full-time employee to manage the tax-paying obligations for the 379-officer department.