State's Fiscal Chief Apologizes for Rushed Sales Tax Change

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas' chief fiscal officer says the state "screwed up" in giving businesses little time to prepare for new sales tax collection rules starting January 1.

Richard Weiss, director of the Dept. of Finance and Administration, told the Arkansas Legislative Council yesterday that state officials owe retailers a "big apology."

Legislation in the 2007 session delayed the change until January 1.  The purpose of changing the startup date was to give the finance department and businesses time to adjust.

But instead, some companies just received notification about the change a week ago.

Weiss acknowledged the change will be difficult for some small businesses and may require computer upgrades or the purchase of additional accounting software.  He said he's instructed agency auditors to initially "go gentle" on businesses struggling to comply with the new rules.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)