Gov. Mike Easley today launched a new effort by the Department of Revenue to collect $150 million in back taxes during the next two years. In a ceremony held at the State Capitol, Gov. Easley signed into law SB 353 or 'Project Collect Tax' -- an initiative that will focus on collecting overdue individual and corporate taxes.
"This is money that would pay the cost of educating our children, of paving our roads and highways, of keeping our air and our environment clean," Easley said.
Through Project Collect Tax, the Department of Revenue will begin to collect money owed from delinquent taxpayers who have ignored requests for payment and repeated efforts by the Department to reach a reasonable agreement. The new law allows the Department to charge delinquent taxpayers an additional fee that will help cover the costs of collecting these taxes.
Starting August 22, 2001, the Department will send a notice to every taxpayer who has an account with the Department that is at least 90 days past due. The Department estimates there are at least 490,000 such accounts and expects to collect $150 million in back taxes over the next two years.
"Ninety percent of our citizens and businesses pay their taxes on time and according to the law," said Revenue Secretary Norris Tolson. "The other ten percent are forcing us to use honest taxpayers' money to subsidize them. That day is over."
Sen. John Kerr, Rep. Gordon Allen, and Rep. Joe Tolson joined Gov. Easley and Secretary Tolson for the bill signing ceremony to kick off the effort.
After receiving a notice from the state Department of Revenue, taxpayers will have 30 days to contact the Department and settle their accounts. After those 30 days, the Department will begin its full-scale effort to collect any funds that have not been paid and a 20 percent collection fee will be imposed. Under Project Collect Tax, taxpayers who already have payment plans with the Department of Revenue to settle tax debts will not have to pay the collection fee.
"We intend to be fair, honest, and straightforward in all our dealings with taxpayers -- just as we always have been," said Tolson. "However we cannot allow the number of unpaid tax accounts to continue to grow. It is not fair to honest taxpayers and it is a disservice to future generations of North Carolinians."