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Judge orders St. Louis to reimburse earnings tax to 6 workers for remote work

The case started as a class-action lawsuit with a larger class of plaintiffs, but a previous ruling narrowed the number of plaintiffs to six.
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — A judge ordered the City of St. Louis to reimburse six employees who had their remote work wages taxed under the city's 1% earnings tax.

In a ruling issued Thursday, a judge ordered the city to refund six workers who had remote work hours taxed under the city's earnings tax. All six said they conducted the work outside of the boundaries of the city, and therefore shouldn't be taxed.

Four of the six workers requested refunds for hours worked outside of St. Louis in 2020 and had their requests denied. Two others sought their 2020 refunds through small claims court and were added to the case later.

The ruling from Missouri Circuit Court Judge Jason Sengheiser said the city had paid refunds for remote hours worked in previous years, but denied those requests in 2020. 

"So beginning in tax year 2020, despite no changes in the Earning Tax law, the Collector stopped issuing refunds for work conducted outside of the City, unless the work was done while traveling, a distinction that was not previously made," the ruling said.

In all, the city was ordered to issue six refunds totaling $8,361.31 plus interest.

The case started as a class-action lawsuit with a larger class of plaintiffs, but a ruling earlier this month from St. Louis Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh found that a state statute already had a remedy for taxpayers to protest taxes. Judge McGraugh said that the statute doesn't allow for class-action status.

Attorney Mark Milton said he planned to appeal McGraugh's earlier ruling.

Below is a full copy of Thursday's ruling.

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