Tax Commission Could Increase Collections

Tax Commission Could Increase Collections

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Jed Boal ReportingEvery year Utah taxpayers are delinquent millions of dollars and the Tax Commission has to try and collect. A state audit shows tax collectors could be bringing in more money.

Every year in Utah most individuals and businesses dutifully pay their taxes; others are late, while some simply don't pay at all. The Tax Commission takes a lot of heat so the legislative auditor put the Division of Taxpayer services under the microscope and presented the report this afternoon.

It found the Tax Commission treats taxpayers fairly but, could increase collections.

Wayne Welsh, Auditor General: “They could collect more if they were more efficient, and they used the tools they have more effectively."

Last year, Utah taxpayers forked over $4.6 billion dollars. Of that, tax collectors had to go out and get $135 million of it and the audit shows they could bring in millions more with new collections methods.

More tax revenue would help the state budget...but...

Marc Johnson, Tax Commissioner: “We want to be even-handed in good times or bad times. We don't want to use bad times as an excuse to go after delinquent taxpayers."

The audit also suggests each collector could go from 100 cases to 200 cases, and by allocating the workload better the division would have greater efficiency. The report also recommends collections could be more aggressive while still being fair.

Wayne Welsh, Auditor General: “If they hadn't done it before that could be called aggressiveness, but it's really being more efficient or effective."

Overall, the audit did not reveal any major problems in need of sweeping overhaul. As far as the recommendations that were made, the tax commissioner says they're already addressing those.

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