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Audit finds fault with Richmond’s finance department

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A new report from Richmond’s City Auditor shows staff in the Finance Department’s Tax Enforcement Division have unorganized records and finds fault with their collection practices.

In fact, the audit showed that there was was no way to determine if the department collected taxes or how much was received, if any.

The City of Richmond conducted 44,233 audits, $4.8 million in 1999 compared to 32 audits, $24,598 in 2011, according to the findings.

The report also showed the city sent out 30,000 tax bills to residents, which were returned. When the city mailed them out again it cost $12,000.

And according to the audit, delinquent accounts involving personal property taxes went from $500,000 to $16 million over the last 6 years,.

This latest report also shows that in 2011 44,223 delinquent personal property account holders were overcharged for past due bills.

Additionally, those taxpayers were hit with a 10-percent late fee instead of five-percent one. That resulted in $83,000 in fees, according to the report.

The audit also showed that delinquent city taxpayers paid a $30 administrative fee for late payments that was hidden in their bills.

The auditor said these findings indicate there is the potential for $8 million in savings.

Additionally, the report offered several recommendations to combat these oversights. [BONUS: Click here to read the complete list of recommendations]

This audit focused on assessment of personal property taxes, business license taxes and the collection of those specific taxes. The audit also focused on the tax audit staff within the department.

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