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Tax breaks draw Plaza CPA firm to Leawood

Meara Welch Browne says it was attracted by change benefiting pass-through firms.

Updated: 2013-02-09T03:05:38Z

By KEVIN COLLISON

The Kansas City Star

A well-known Kansas City certified public accounting firm has moved its offices and 22 employees to Leawood, lured by a new Kansas incentive program that eliminated personal income taxes on profits earned at what are called pass-through businesses.

The firm, Meara Welch Browne, had been at 800 W. 47th St. in the Country Club Plaza. It moved this week to an office building at 2020 W. 89th St.

John Meara, a principal at the firm, said Friday that the company’s new home is just across the border.

Meara said the Kansas program, which allows owners to avoid paying the 6 percent personal income taxes on their profits from the company, clinched the deal. The program, approved last year at the urging of Gov. Sam Brownback, was aimed at benefiting pass-through businesses such as S-corporations, LLCs and partnerships.

“I think there could be a mass migration to Kansas if Missouri doesn’t do anything about it,” Meara said. “Twenty-two people have been provided huge incentives to move, and once we get there all the profits are not taxed by Kansas.”

The firm, which provides audit, tax and business support services, also will receive benefits from other Kansas incentive programs. Meara said it is too early to know the total amount of other tax incentives the firm expects to receive. The company will occupy about 7,500 square feet.

Meara also noted the building on State Line Road where his firm moved is the new home of SelectQuote Senior Insurance Services. SelectQuote announced in December that it was moving 150 jobs to Kansas because of incentives. The firm had been at 9200 Ward Parkway in Kansas City.

To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send email to kcollison@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at kckansascity.

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