Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

June 17, 2014

W. Va Tax Dept. disputes $715.7M in unpaid taxes

PRINCETON — The West Virginia Tax Department is disputing an audit that found the state is owed more than $715 million in unpaid taxes.

The legislative audit released Tuesday says that out of the $715.7 million, $298.3 million owed is collectable. The totals are as of December 2013.

Tax Commissioner Mark Matkovich said the owed taxes wrongly include accounts that skew the numbers, like dead taxpayers, defunct businesses, penalties and interest. He said some of the owed taxes date back to 1994.

He could not estimate how much of the $298.3 million the state is actually pursuing.

“Frankly, we are a little disappointed by the way some aspects of this audit report are portrayed,” Matkovich told a state legislative panel Tuesday.

The largest bucket of collectable taxes the state hasn’t received was $104.7 million in personal income tax, the audit says. The second was $83.9 million in sales tax.

The state also has not received almost $8 million through three coal industry taxes, the audit found.

The audit by Legislative Post Audit Division director Denny Rhodes says the department lacks adequate policies and procedures to ensure taxes are collected.

The Tax Department responded that it would seek improvements to eliminate causes of the findings.


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