State says $303 million in taxes still unpaidby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Tax season has come and gone, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue reports that more than $303 million in individual income taxes are still unpaid as of April 1.
This year's delinquent tax amount is about the same as it has been in recent years, but department officials say they've started increasing their efforts to prosecute these cases.
"We're finding more cases of this nature, so it's becoming a little more common right now," Department of Revenue Spokeswoman Lisa Waldrup said. "It's in the state's best interest, it's in their best interest, to comply with us."
In 2008, the statewide delinquent individual income tax amount was about $303 million and in 2007, about $307 million.
Recently, the Washington County Attorney's Office charged a Scandia man with 12 felony tax crimes for failing to file and pay income tax, according to the department.
Bruce Hastings, 43, allegedly owes the state more than $26,000 in unpaid taxes from 2002 to 2007.
According to the complaint, Hastings received several letters from the Minnesota Department of Revenue regarding his unpaid and unfiled taxes but only contacted the department once, according to the complaint.
Hastings' taxable income for those five years was $421,000, according to department records.
Earlier this month, the Yellow Medicine County Attorney's Office also charged Robert Cunningham, 42, with 13 felony tax crimes and his wife, Ann, 43, with four felony tax crimes. The couple allegedly owes the state more than $43,000, according to the Department of Revenue.
"It's common that's someone who's being charged hasn't paid for a number of years," Waldrup said. "So when it happens, they're charged for failing to file and they're also charged for failing to pay, so there's two charges for each taxpayer each year."
Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both.
Waldrup said anyone who suspects an individual or business is violating tax laws can contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue's 24-hour anonymous tip line at 651-297-5195 or 1-800-657-3500 or email email@example.com.