New law updates Missouri auditing processes

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law on July 12.

A new state law will allow the State Auditor to choose when to make audits.

The law goes into effect on August 28.

The law allows the State Auditor to make audits of any state agency without advance notice

It also requires every state department that receives at least one million dollars in federal grants to make information about the grant available to the public online.

The Missouri Accountability Portal will be updated to include “an easy-to-search database” of bonds issued by public higher education institutions.

“House Bill 116 is an important accountability law that updates World War II laws and statutes to bring them into conformity with how governments and audits operate today,” State Auditor Tom Schweich said in a July 12 news release.

The law allows counties to amend their budgets twice during any fiscal year if there is an unanticipated decline of funds by at least two percent. Currently, counties can only amend their budgets when they receive unanticipated funds. If a county amended its budget under the new law, it must announce a public hearing 30 days in advance.

County commissioners can reduce budgets under their supervision

Counties and county commissions will also have to pay for expenses incurred by the State Auditor while conducting the audit.

Officials from the Office of the State Auditor assumed the bill would not fiscally affect the agency in the July 12 fiscal note.

The Department of Revenue officials said the bill would increase expenses. The State Auditor has never audited corporate income, individual income or employer withholding tax records. The DOR estimated these new kinds of audits would take longer to complete.

“Should the state auditor choose to perform significantly more audits of the new tax types, or to perform them when the DOR’s resources are primarily focused on processing individual and corporate income tax returns during the peak of the relevant filing seasons, total state revenue may be negatively affected, by an unknown amount,” the fiscal analysis said.

The DOR also said allowing the State Auditor direct access to tax information from federal sources “could negatively impact revenue by blocking the DOR's use of such federal data.”

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