TOPEKA — Former gubernatorial candidate and Pizza Hut magnate Gene Bicknell is demanding the state of Kansas fork over $63 million owed the Englewood, Fla., retiree to conclude an income tax dispute initiated nearly 15 years ago.
The Kansas Department of Revenue engaged with Bicknell after the Pittsburg native sold his restaurant company, NPC International, in 2006. The department sent Bicknell a state income tax bill for tens of millions of dollars, alleging he was a resident of Kansas when he sold the business. Bicknell asserted his official residence was in Florida, but paid $29 million in tax and interest in 2013 and filed a lawsuit seeking reimbursement.
Initially, the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals ruled he was a Kansas resident for tax purposes. The Kansas Legislature passed a bill granting taxpayers an opportunity to challenge decisions in district court. Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed that bill, but the Republican-led House and Senate voted to override his veto. Bicknell celebrated when his case went to trial in Crawford County.
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