8/29/2012 10:07:00 AM Editorial Honor system leaves town coffers lacking
Courtesy the Daily Courier
The honor system is gone.
That is what has happened in the Town of Prescott Valley when it comes to businesses remitting sales tax proceeds to the state.
Town officials currently are pursuing two avenues on this. First, they are reviewing an ordinance to revoke, cancel or not renew business licenses. Extreme? Hardly, town officials say, considering the non-payment of about $145,000 in sales tax proceeds by 19 businesses over the past 10 or so years. The second tack is getting those entities to pay up.
Considering the interviews the Daily Courier did, based on the town's documents related to these delinquencies, the latter move will be more difficult than one might think.
As many as 16 of the 19 were contractors - and most of them are out of business.
Two others appear to be from property short sales or homes sold out of foreclosure.
And one is a business shut down because of its land leaser's bankruptcy.
Most, if not all, appear to be lost opportunities for the town to collect the money through liens or otherwise.
While these delinquencies are a mere drop in the tax bucket for the town - $145,000 of about $11.8 million (for 2012-13, for example) - they could pay wages and benefits for three employees, town officials said.
Still, those involved can learn at least three things from this:
Always pay your taxes.
Assume nothing. This could get frustrating for those people who, for instance, bought a house whose former owner may owe sales taxes.
Be proactive. The town may have to write these off as losses if the business - or especially the person - is gone.
There you have it: Honor in business appears to be lacking to some degree. Either that, or we are seeing clearly more consequences of the Great Recession.