Tax collectors on opposite sides of the United States are hoping that a bit of public shaming will help them get money they say is due.
The tax delinquency lists, which will show the taxpayers' names and addresses, will be published on the Tax Department's website.
New law, new tax delinquency lists: The lists are allowed under a new law that took effect in June. Taxpayers named on the lists, says the Tax Department, either have accepted the department's assessments of taxes owed or have already exhausted all appeals and remedies available under Vermont law.
In taking the public shaming route, Vermont is joining more than 28 states that also publish lists of delinquent taxpayers. These states, say Vermont tax officials, have found this tactic to be an effective tool to compel those with tax debt to finally pay up. Vermont is hoping for similar results.
"It is important that all taxpayers in Vermont pay their taxes in a timely manner in order for our state to provide the public services Vermonters need and want,” said Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson in announcing the upcoming delinquency lists. "Although most taxpayers voluntarily pay their taxes on time and in full, we do have a number of taxpayers who have high tax bills outstanding, even after repeated attempts by the department to collect. This new law gives us another tool to compel taxpayers to pay what they owe."
The Vermont Tax Department will be notifying delinquent taxpayers over the next few weeks and offer them a final opportunity to pay their outstanding tax debts and erase their names from the lists.
California tax debtors already online: Meanwhile, California tax officials have updated their list of the top 500 sales and use tax delinquencies.
The California Board of Equalization listing is updated quarterly. Taxpayers are given 30 days' notice and can pay their bills, or make arrangements to do so, in order to keep or remove their names and addresses from the updated list.
The latest BoE tally for the third quarter of the year shows California coffers are still due $484.4 million in unpaid taxes.
The bills range from almost $8 million due from a business that the Golden State first liened in 1994 to just less than $400,000 that California tax officials have been trying to collect since 2012.
As you would expect, most of the California tax debtors are within the state's borders. The state says, however, that it is due taxes from companies in, moving northward, Washington state and British Columbia, Canada, as well as in, moving eastward, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Too bad for that Massachusetts company that it didn't just owe back taxes in the Bay State. Now through Oct. 31, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue is offering a tax amnesty for eligible delinquent business and individual taxpayers.
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