Several firework stands shut down briefly due to tax issue

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Seven fireworks stands were briefly shutdown this morning by the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Around 9:30 Tuesday morning agents with the state department of revenue and local law enforcement agencies shutdown seven Kelley’s fireworks stands; five of which are in Topeka and Shawnee County.

The state claims that the company owned by Charles Copeland owes more than $82,500 in unpaid taxes from the years 2010 to 2012.

Copeland counters that he did pay taxes for those years.

However, he believes there is a clerical error dating back to when he purchased the Kelley brand from the previous owner.

Just a few hours later around noon Copeland and the state reached an agreement and the stands were allowed to re-open.

Kelley’s operators are relieved.

“The owner of the wholesales fireworks got together with the Department of Revenue, and we are back open,” operator Pete Ritchey told Kansas First News.

Copeland is confident that the issue will easily be resolved.

“We’ve been paying taxes the whole time, it’s just never been allocated to the right area,” he said. “The biggest problem on top of it is the Department of Revenue has never opened up a line of communication over this issue.”

Copeland says he didn’t know there was a problem before Tuesday morning.

However, Department of Revenue spokeswoman Jeanine Koranda says they make multiple attempts to reach business before they are shutdown.

Copeland says he and the state will revisit the issue on July 14th.

Despite the obvious inconvenience and frustration, both Copeland and his operators say the Department of Revenue’s agents and law enforcement were polite and professional.

Ritchey says he’s glad if the shutdown had to happen, it took place in the morning and for only a few hours; it’s the difference of losing a few hundred dollars or several thousand in sales.

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