Wisconsin Assembly passes tax enforcement changes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bill changing Wisconsin’s tax enforcement procedures has passed the Republican-controlled Legislature over objections from Democrats who say it would benefit tax cheats.

The measure passed Thursday by the state Assembly cleared the Senate last week and now heads to Gov. Scott Walker, who had requested its introduction.

The bill makes numerous changes to how certain cases are handled by the state Department of Revenue. One part would shift the burden of proof from the taxpayer to the department when determining whether the taxpayer was negligent in paying taxes.

Democrats say that will allow tax cheats to escape penalties. Republicans counter the change would ensure well-meaning taxpayers aren’t saddled with additional penalties.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business lobbying group, helped draft the bill.