NILES Tax policy reviewed

A performance audit found that 40 percent of businesses and individuals didn't file income taxes in 2000.
NILES -- The city treasurer's office will develop a policy establishing when to write off delinquent income taxes after a state performance audit released last year.
The audit by state Auditor Jim Petro listed 20 recommendations for improvement in the income tax department, which is part of the treasurer's office. The report found that 40 percent of businesses and individuals didn't file income taxes in 2000.
Treasurer Richard Bullock, who took office in January, has been working with his staff to address some of the report's recommendations. He requested the meeting conducted Wednesday with council and the administration to review the progress.
What's wrong: Some income tax forms are returned to the office with everything complete. Others include mistakes and have to be sent back. Some people and businesses return the forms but owe income tax and haven't paid. Others don't file the return or pay.
Janet Rizer, income tax director, said money not collected in income taxes is carried over as a delinquency from year to year.
"It's there until council writes it off," she said.
Council President Fremont Camerino said that's something that should be dictated by treasurer's office policy.
"The treasurer then asks council to approve it, but the impetus has to come from the treasurer's office, not council," Camerino said.
The performance audit criticized the department for not having a policy regarding delinquencies, he added.
Bullock indicated that a policy would be developed.
He said the office has been working diligently to remedy the problem of delinquencies, including filing cases in court. A lot of those cases are for people who don't owe income tax, but didn't file the income tax forms.
"If we have a delinquent nonfiler, we don't know that they don't owe until they file," Rizer said.
That includes people who have moved out of the area.
Another suggestion: Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr., who requested the performance audit, also suggested a tougher ordinance regarding contractors working in the city.
The city building inspector won't issue a building permit to a contractor until the contractor has a city tax identification number, he said.
That could be tightened to also require contractors to submit a list of their subcontractors in order to get a building permit, the mayor said.

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