Judge Rules in Favor of Teleworking Non-Residents in St. Louis City Earnings Tax Lawsuit
City of St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser has ruled in favor of the taxpayers in the St. Louis City earnings tax refund case filed by STLTaxLawyer Mark Milton and co-counsel Bevis Schock.
The attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs against the City of St. Louis and Gregory F.X. Daly, the City’s Collector of Revenue, challenging their refusal to issue earnings tax refunds to non-city residents working outside the City during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, the St. Louis Collector of Revenue had allowed refunds to non-residents of the city for those days they teleworked outside the city for a city-based company. As the pandemic began, the Collector changed course and began denying those refunds, according to Milton and Schock’s lawsuit.
Judge Sengheiser’s ruling agreed with the argument saying the St. Louis City earnings tax ordinance clearly states “work performed or services rendered in the city” applies only to those who are physically present in the city. The judge has directed the Collector to process the refunds.
“It’s never been a vendetta against the city or the earnings tax,” Milton told reporters during a press conference following the rulings. “It’s just a matter of justice in that the collector always interpreted it the way we did prior to the pandemic, and then just changed course out of this fear of lost revenue and that’s not the way our laws work. That’s not the way our system works.”
Milton and Schock plan to press forward on behalf of all teleworking taxpayers, who can follow STLRefund.com for additional information on next steps. Though the court had denied the class-action status early in the case, the plaintiffs’ attorneys may still appeal the denial of class action status.
Click the links to below to watch, listen, and read about the judge’s ruling.