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Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

State to post tax scofflaws on Website

May 29, 2004

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— Kansas tax officials are hoping deadbeat taxpayers will rather pay up than face the embarrassment of seeing their names plastered all over the World Wide Web.

The state Revenue Department plans to list delinquent taxpayers on the Internet sometime next year, with an eye toward shaming them into paying their bills.

Kansas officials would be following the lead of more than a dozen states.

Using such snappy names as CyberShame (Louisiana) or Debtor's Corner (South Carolina), financially strapped states seek to humiliate individuals and businesses to the point they give up and pay up.

"The key is notifying people that their names are going to be published," said Kansas Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon. "Nobody wants his neighbor to know he hasn't paid his taxes."

Kansas has not yet come up with a name for its program.

Georgia launched its deadbeat list in February, and in the first six weeks collected more than $300,000.

Stateline.org, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, reported that before the Georgia list was published, eight legislators were notified their names would appear on the Internet. They paid up before the list was posted.

Kansas deadbeats will get a similar opportunity.

Delinquent taxpayers will be notified by the department and given one last chance to pay before friends and neighbors are able to find out they have been dodging the tax collector.

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