INCOME TAX REVIEW Recommendations

State Auditor Jim Petro released an audit of the city for 2000 including a review of the city's income tax department with a list of recommendations:
UMonitor collections consistently by maintaining and compiling detailed data to assess fluctuations in income tax collections and to determine impact of specific businesses on income tax collections.
UMaintain more accurate records of the number of active businesses and individual accounts in the city. The department should follow up with businesses and individuals when tax returns aren't filed.
USpend more time using Ohio Department of Taxation taxpayer filing lists to identify potential income taxpayers. Follow up with individuals filing a return with the state and not with the city.
UPrepare a mass mailing of notices using the most current master address listing available for individual taxpayers and businesses.
UConduct field audits of area businesses that potentially aren't submitting accurate income tax information.
UConduct field investigations on a more frequent basis to identify new businesses in the city and to verify all businesses have a valid income tax account.
UConduct routine site visits to ensure that any subcontractors performing work for contractors are identified as taxpayers. Consider requiring all subcontractors to register with the building and zoning department.
UEstablish a policy to obtain a listing of new customers from billing-utilities department on a bi-weekly basis.
UDocument how many new taxpayers were identified through using the city directory, telephone directory, local newspapers, legal news, rental listings, real estate records and the post office.
UCreate a procedures manual outlining and explaining the activities associated with identifying potential taxpayers that would be used by all employees in the department.
UConsider conducting a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the city should use the law department or an external collection agency to assist in collecting delinquent income taxes.
UConsider modifying delinquent notices sent to taxpayers to include an action statement on the first notice that would inform the taxpayer of what could happen as a result of failure to pay their income tax obligation.
UUpdate and consistently follow policies and procedures for dealing with delinquent accounts by establishing time frames for when specific actions should be taken.
UMonitor and track delinquent account activity more closely by working with the vendor to create customized reports.
UConsider developing and implementing an amnesty program to target taxpayers who have never paid the municipal income tax in addition to delinquent taxpayers.
UUpdate municipal income tax ordinance to include a monthly withholding requirement and monitor withholdings on a quarterly basis.
URe-evaluate the practice of not including winnings from lotteries and wagering in the calculation of taxable income for purposes of collecting city income tax.
UCity treasurer should enforce requirement that all residents file a return, including retirees who may not have taxable income.
UUse all of the functions available on income tax computer system.
UEmployees should receive necessary amount of training to use all of the available computer functions to generate the necessary reports measuring critical aspects of income tax collections.
Source: State Auditor Jim Petro