Simmesport owes U.S. $122,203 in back taxes

IRS files lien on town-owned property

If you think you have tax problems with the IRS, be thankful you’re not in the Town of Simmesport’s shoes.

Simmesport owes Uncle Sam $122,203.59 in unpaid payroll taxes dating back to 2017.

In a real “Scroogey” thing to do, the IRS filed a federal tax lien against the town on Dec. 24.

Town officials met with IRS representatives this past Wednesday (Feb. 12) “to discuss this issue,” Mayor Leslie Draper III said. “We want to clear up what happened.”

The tax lien is for unpaid taxes for five tax periods ending on Sept. 30, 2017, March 31, 2018, June 30, 2018, Dec. 31, 2018 and June 30, 2019. The first three were more significant -- $30,230.29, $38,786.79 and $49,115.42. The last two were less -- $3,784.79 and $286.30.

Draper said the town made payroll tax payments to the IRS “but it appears they may have been applied to pay delinquent taxes that were owed before I took office in January 2017. We’re not sure about that..

“We, of course, argue that we paid the taxes,” the mayor continued. “The IRS is saying they never got it.”

The lien is, in effect, a mortgage on any property owned by the town. Should the town sell any town-owned property, the federal lien would have to be paid first from those proceeds.

A federal tax lien attaches to all of the taxpayers’ assets, including property, securities and vehicles. It also attaches to any future assets acquired as long as the lien is in place.

In the case of a self-employed taxpayer -- which includes a municipality and small business -- the lien can also give the IRS the right to any accounts receivable paid to the taxpayer until the amount owed is paid.

Once filed, the notice of a federal tax lien may limit the taxpayer’s ability to obtain credit.

“I believe our accounting records will show that we paid the payroll taxes owed,” Draper said. “I’m not saying the town doesn’t owe the taxes, but we have to get more information.”

In another financial strike against the town, the Legislative Auditor’s Office confirmed there is an “investigative audit” of the town underway.

LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR INVESTIGATION

A Legislative Auditor’s Office spokesman said all investigations are confidential.

He said he could only say the LAO “has received complaints of possible violations and are conducting an investigative audit into those complaints.”

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