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Could Texas Tax Collectors Follow the Lead Set by Other States?

It is no secret that the financial situation of states around the nation is tight. States typically must balance their budgets, and they want to do so without raising taxes. So what are they doing? They're getting tough on tax collection.

Texas tax collectors may, or may not, follow the lead set by other states and aggressively go after delinquent taxpayers and other types of uncollected taxes on the state or local level.

According to news sources, the following are examples of tax revenue generating ideas that are happening around the U.S.

  • Vermont: A dentist was reportedly surprised when told he had to start collecting a 6 percent sales tax on the "free" toothbrushes and dental floss that he gives away. A senior care facility got a $350,000 tax bill reflecting a 9 percent restaurant tax on the residents' meals.
  • Idaho: The state hired 48 temporary auditors to close the tax gap between taxes owed and taxes collected.
  • Oklahoma: The state added 30 people to its tax collection payroll and was able to bring in $35 million in delinquent taxes during a single tax year.
  • California: The state engages in public embarrassment by publishing the names of individuals and businesses that are behind on income taxes or sales taxes.
  • New York: The state is attempting to lure in late-payers by offering to forgive parts of past-due payments if the business or individual is in economic stress.

Our state of Texas is trying something similar to the New York's strategy. The Texas "Fresh Start" program, set to being on June 12, offers certain taxpayers amnesty from interest and penalties for taxes and tax returns that are brought current.

One thing seems clear: many states are short on cash and one way to raise that cash is to collect taxes that are delinquent. For those who are surprised by a statement of taxes owed, it may be a good idea to consult with a qualified professional to resolve the issue.

Source: Star-Telegram, "Some states asking the tax man to get tougher," Dave Gram, May 27, 2012

Source: Texas Comptroller's Office, "Fresh Start Texas Taxpayer Amnesty Program 2012," May 4, 2012

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