|Income tax collection relies on taxpayer cooperation|
|Wednesday, August 14, 2013 12:00 AM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
DELPHOS — Everyone pays their taxes, right? Perhaps not.
With the city facing more than a $1 million shortfall by the end of 2014, the City of Delphos will ask taxpayers to approve a quarter-percent income tax increase to begin Jan. 1, 2014. Income Tax Administrator Doris Bockey is still looking for taxes that were due by April 15.
“We’re about $40-50,000 down from where we estimated we should be,” Bockey said Tuesday. “I know some of that is from lost jobs and the economy but not all of it.”
Just to be sure, Bockey sends out letters to residents and corporations who paid taxes last year with a friendly reminder that if they did have income in 2013, the city is due its share. She also watches for new residents moving in.
“I send out a questionnaire so they can determine if the city income tax ordinance applies to them and if so, they owe us money and need to pay it,” Bockey said.
Bockey said she has sent out between 100-200 of those letters last year. If she receives no response, a second weightier letter is sent.
Bockey said sometimes a letter or two are not enough. Only about one-third of those she sends letters to respond. For those who don’t, the city can choose to enlist the assistance of the state and even the federal government by subpoenaing tax records up to three years prior.
“The state can give us a list for state returns with a Delphos zip code but it does cost us money. I think the last time we requested the list, it was $180,” she said. “We go through the list and make sure everyone who filed a state tax return also filed with us or has the taxes taken out of the paycheck.”
Subpoenaing federal tax records also comes with a price tag.
At this point, Safety Service Director Greg Berquist would step in.
“If we feel it is warranted, we can start an audit,” Berquist said. “The process is very time-consuming and costly but then we can dig deeper.”
Ultimately, Berquist said the goal is for residents and businesses to abide by the ordinance and pay taxes when they are due.
“The goal of the income tax is to generate funds for the city,” he said. “That doesn’t work if it costs us money to collect it.”
The median income in Delphos is between $30-35,000. The average income tax due is approximately $425. If a resident works within the city limits, their employer should deduct the appropriate tax.
The city also has an income reciprocity credit with other cities. If a Delphos resident works in another city, they are given a .75-percent credit for taxes paid in that city.
If a resident is unsure if they owe taxes to the city, Bockey is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 11:48 AM|