After court win, attorneys say thousands of out-of-city remote workers could be eligible for earning tax refund

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:40 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - If you work remotely but pay the St. Louis city earnings tax, you may be entitled to a refund, despite what it says on the refund form.

That was the argument made by two attorneys on Friday, Bevis Schock and Mark Milton, who this week won a case for six plaintiffs based on that issue.

Currently anybody working in the city, or people that live in the city, are required to give one-percent of their wages to St. Louis.

Before the pandemic hit, St. Louis city issued refunds for out of city residents on days they worked remotely, but that changed when folks wanted refunds for 2020.

“So what happened was Mr. (Gregory) Daly changed his rules,” said Schock.

Milton and Schock took a bit of a victory lap today. They pointed to Circuit Court Judge Jason Sengheiser’s ruling, saying Collector of Revenue Gregory Daly flipped policy illegally. And that move came right when many people began working from home.

“The collector always interpreted the way we did by the way, and then just changed course out of fear of lost revenue. And that’s not the way our laws work,” said Milton.

The ruling requires the city to pay six people back their refunds and they say they’re organizing for a class action lawsuit appeal, after the initial class action lawsuit was dismissed.

The two men now say if you’re in that situation, you are still eligible for a refund for 2022 and even 2021.

“The law is clear that if you’re not physically working in the city, you’re not liable for those days,” said Milton.

This goes against what is clearly on the Collector of Revenue’s earning tax refund request form, which states “Employees who work remotely from home should be treated as working at their original principal place of work.”

“The collector today still has that form on their website and we’re exploring different avenues. We may have to challenge that form again in light of this ruling,” said Milton.

The office for the Collector of Revenue Gregory Daly told News 4 they’re still reviewing their options. They have 30 days to appeal the ruling.

The city of St. Louis depends on the earning tax money revenue. In the 2022 fiscal year, it gave the city around $196 million. That figure is over one-third of the city’s general fund.