Delinquent Taxpayers Made Public on "Website of Shame" - WBAY

Delinquent Taxpayers Made Public on "Website of Shame"

By Jeff Alexander

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has a new tool aimed at helping it collect more than half a billion dollars in unpaid taxes: Shame. The state is now posting the names of delinquent taxpayers on a web site for everyone to see.

The numbers are staggering: Businesses and individuals owing tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and sometimes more than a million dollars in unpaid taxes.

Under a state law that took effect January 1st, the Department of Revenue began posting the name and address of anyone owing the state more than $25,000.

There is a total 6,346 people on the list with a tax debt totaling $570 million.

"$570 million is a lot of money," the DOR's Meredith Helgerson said, "and we need every tool we can get. People pay their taxes every day and it's not fair to them when you have a large group of people that don't, that add up that large sum of money."

Action 2 News tracked down some of the local people listed on the web site. They all either declined to comment or didn't answer their door.

The Department of Revenue says making delinquent taxpayers names public is working. Since mailing warning letters on November 7th about the Internet posting, 913 people have come forward and made arrangements to pay a total eight million dollars in unpaid taxes.

The state says it will update the web site every three months.

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