Lisbon tax chief sends letters to scofflaws

LISBON – The village’s new income tax administrator is wasting little time going after tax scofflaws.

Since taking over in late May, Nancy Francis has mailed out tax delinquency notices to more than 100 people, with the warning that failure to pay could land them in court.

“I have sent collection letters to all of the offenders. Those who have not responded or set up a payment plan are going to have to answer to the judge,” she said.

Francis said she referred about 10 of the worst cases to village Solicitor Virginia Barborak for legal action. “The ones I gave to Virginia to pursue were quite high, and I’m not talking about a couple of hundred dollars but several thousand dollars,” she said.

Most of the alleged offenders mailed letters were people who had been notified before and did nothing or entered into a payment plan and then quit making payments. “There were very few first-time offenders,” she said.

What is different this time is legal action is being recommended. “It seems in the past these people were not prosecuted,” Francis said.

The 1.5 percent income tax generated $1.11 million last year, and collections are down by 2 percent this year compared to 2013. While that may not seem like much, it is critical to village operations because the tax accounts for about 70 percent of Lisbon’s general fund income.

Francis said the village needs all of tax revenue that it is due, which is why she is taking an aggressive approach in collecting back taxes. “We have potholes to fill,” she said.

Anyone over the age of 18 who lives in the village or has earned income in the village, such as a contractor, are required to pay the income tax. Those who do not have it automatically withdrawn by their employer must file an income tax return by April 15.

Failure to pay carries with it a monthly penalty of 1.5 percent on the unpaid balance, plus an additional potential penalty of $50 for the first year and $100 annually after that.

Francis emphasized she remains willing to enter into payment plans with anyone “willing to make the effort and follow through with their payments.

“We are not suing those who are currently in a payment plan and honoring its terms. We are going after those who have been given an opportunity to rectify the situation but have failed to do so,” she said.