Republican Senator Greg Hertz introduced Senate Bill 399 on Friday and explained the bill to KGVO news on Saturday.

“Montana's tax return process is very complicated, and so I'm looking to simplify it, just kind of tie it to our federal tax return,” said Hertz. “Once you've done your federal return it will make it much easier to file a state return in Montana and provide folks with a little bit of tax relief.”

Hertz said he and other Republican legislators have been attempting to pass such a bill over many previous sessions, but were vetoed.

“I've been in the legislature since 2013, and there were some bills working around back in 2013 and 2015,” he said. “In fact, one of them made it all the way to Governor Bullock's desk in 2015, and he vetoed it. “But, with a new governor in town, I just thought I would pick that process up again and see if we can move forward.”

Hertz said he has consulted with the Department of Revenue and the Governor’s office about SB 399.

“”Both the Department of Revenue and the Governor's office are looking closely at it and I’m getting positive feedback,” he said. “From this point in time it would make the Department of Revenue's life a little bit easier because Montana tax returns are complicated and it takes some staff members to work through all those issues.”

Hertz said the first hearing on the bill will be later this week.

“The first hearing will be coming up on April 1, and I suspect we'll have a few amendments,” he said. “I've also got the Montana Society of CPAs weighing in on it, and then we need to move this bill across the Senate floor by April 8, then get it over the House and start the process all over again.”

SB 399 removes the complexity of the current system by starting state taxable income with federal taxable income and significantly increasing the standard deduction. The bill would also exempt up to 70,000 low-income Montanans from the state tax rolls.

Read the text of Senate Bill 399 here.


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