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Dance troupe in a dance with IRS on back taxes

Dance troupe in a dance with IRS on back taxes



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A publicly funded dance troupe owes the IRS nearly $700,000 in payroll taxes and penalties.

Salt Lake City's Odyssey Dance Theatre has offered a quarter of the money owed in settlement negotiations.

The non-profit's director Derryl Yeager would cover about $33,000 of the amount personally, according to a published report.

Yeager told The Salt Lake Tribune that he reached a point years ago where he could pay his dancers or the government but not both, and he was looking for a donor to solve the problem.

The newspaper reports that Odyssey Dance Theatre has collected more than $427,000 from Salt Lake County's Zoo, Arts and Parks program since 2004.

Yeager, formerly of Ballet West, founded the company in 1993 to provide Utah with an eclectic mix of dance styles and traditions from ballet to jazz to modern and hip-hop.

By all accounts, Yeager succeeded, putting as many as two dozen dancers to work on wages of $300 to $600 a week. The troupe's "Thriller" has been a popular fall production, and the company has earned a national reputation.

But Yeager told the newspaper his ambitions were larger than his ability to meet financial obligations. The company's attorney, Charles Brown, says Yeager acknowledges he got behind on taxes.

"He's a dance guy, not a financial guy," Brown said. "He didn't know what he was doing."

The company didn't even submit an offer to make good on the tax debt until September.

Brown said it could take more than a year to reach an agreement with the IRS.

Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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