Federal tax liens filed on City of Vidalia

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

VIDALIA — Federal tax liens filed at the Concordia Parish Clerk of Court’s office Sept. 18 say the City of Vidalia owed, at that time, $635,412.76 in unpaid federal taxes due during the last six years.

But City Attorney Jack McLemore said Monday night that a check for the full amount was mailed the same day the notice was filed.

The unpaid payroll taxes included amounts withheld from employee paychecks beginning in 2006 and continuing sporadically until 2012 for income taxes, Social Security and Medicare.

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Just under $200,000 of the assessed taxes were for tax periods ending in late 2011 and 2012, but approximately $450,000 were for periods between 2006 and 2010.

McLemore said the unpaid taxes that resulted in the liens were caused by an employee mistake, which has since been corrected.

“It was just a mistake by one of our employees and that same person made the same mistake more than once,” McLemore said. “This is not something normal at all, and we paid every penny of it after we got the notice.

“We had the money to pay it; we just didn’t know until we got the notice.”

A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against an individual, business or government entity’s property when a tax debt isn’t paid.

The notice filed against the City of Vidalia lists nine unpaid balances, and two penalties for failure to file information returns or wage and tax statements.

• The two penalities filed are listed for tax periods ending in 2007 and 2009 but assessed in 2010 and 2012, which total $12,866.86.

• Three unpaid amounts were listed for the tax period ending on Dec. 31, 2006, and assessed in 2008 and 2009, which total $64,544.22

• Two amounts are listed for tax periods ending in 2010, and assessed this year, which total $37,1209.28.

• Three amounts are listed for tax periods ending in 2011 and assessed this year, which total $178,439.51.

• The most recent unpaid balance listed on the notice is for the tax period ending on March 31, 2012, for $8,352.89.

The total for all unpaid balance of assessments does not reflect accrued interest, penalties or payments made after the notice was filed.

The IRS places a 10-year statue of limitation on lien collection. After that term expires, the notice can be refilled or released.

Mayor Hyram Copeland could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon and evening.