“Clearer, more consistent, and more forthcoming in the guidance we give taxpayers” is how Kevin Sullivan, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services (DRS), sums up his agency’s new approach to doing business.

In his opening remarks at CBIA’s 2013 Connecticut Tax Conference, the commissioner outlined the agency’s plans to “beef up the role of taxpayer services” beyond tax collection and enforcement.

Emphasis on Service

Beginning this fall, he said, DRS is:

  • Establishing a statewide advisory council that meets quarterly with payroll processors, merchants, and diverse stakeholders to solicit input into tax policies and processes
  • Conducting regular outreach throughout the state, participating in meetings of business organizations and chambers of commerce, “not [operating] in isolation in Hartford.”
  • Organizing an editorial board to review all DRS print and digital communications—including questionnaires, Earned Income Tax Credit forms, sales tax forms, and other commonly used publications—and adopting a “plain language” approach to taxpayer communications
  • Undergoing agencywide training in plain-language communication

The department, said Sullivan, aims to “not simply lower the hammer but work with individuals and businesses to find their way back” to compliance.

Intervening earlier to help businesses is one strategy DRS is adopting, as is taking on the role of “not just call takers, but call resolvers.”

New Rules for Taxpayers

The 2013 Connecticut Tax Conference featured breakout sessions on sales and taxes for construction, manufacturing, and services and a plenary session on the state’s changing tax arena.

Attorneys Alan Lieberman and Ryan Leichsenring of Shipman & Goodwin led the plenary session, which covered key outcomes of the 2013 Connecticut General Assembly, including:

  • Significantly higher penalties for failing to secure or renew sales tax permits
  • Extension of the corporation business tax
  • Sales tax collection liability for drop shipments
  • New withholdings for employees residing or performing services outside the state
  • Limitations and moratoriums on certain existing tax credits
  • Effective dates for expanded or liberalized tax credits
  • Extensive changes to property tax requirements

On September 12, CBIA will host an in-depth workshop on new property tax rules. For more information or to register, call 860.244.1900.