Press Releases

Names of Delinquent Taxpayers Published

"CyberShame" Program aimed at chronic delinquent taxpayers

January 17, 2001

BATON ROUGE - The names of 106 chronic delinquent taxpayers are now listed on the Department of Revenue''s Internet web page at http://revenue.louisiana.gov, says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges.

"Anyone with access to the Internet can now view the name, address, and amount of tax owed by some of the state''s most chronic delinquent taxpayers," Bridges says. "Our publication program is called ''CyberShame'' and is based on the premise that publication of a delinquent taxpayer''s name will shame them into paying the taxes they owe." She adds that the program has been instituted in five other states and has resulted in the collection of millions of dollars in delinquent taxes.

"The source of this published delinquent tax information is public record tax liens on file with the Clerk of Court in the appropriate parish," Bridges says. "The republication of tax information from these public records does not constitute a violation of the confidentiality provisions of Louisiana Revised Statute 47:1508, which requires that a taxpayer''s records be kept confidential." She adds that 95 percent of the state''s taxpayers pay their taxes in full and on time. "The purpose of this program is to collect delinquent taxes due from the other five percent after all other options have been exhausted."

Bridges points out that the program has already produced results even before the list was published. "In November, the Department sent notification letters to 125 of the 126 chronic delinquent taxpayers on our original list. One taxpayer, who would have been number 126 on the list, was not sent a letter because he heard about the program before his letter was mailed and came forward with a payment of $300,000," Bridges says. "For that reason, his name is not being published." Since then, another eight taxpayers on the list have also contacted the Department to make payment arrangements totaling $138,345. "Because they have come forward, their names are being withheld from the current published list." Bridges says the list was further reduced to its present number of 106 because 11 notification letters were remailed when more current addresses were obtained. "We want to make sure that those taxpayers receive a full 30-day notice before we publish their names," Bridges says. The original list of 126 taxpayers was comprised of 48 individuals that owed $4.3 million, and 78 businesses that owed $5.5 million.

The Department of Revenue has already begun identifying the names of another 125 to 150 delinquent taxpayers that will be published in March. After that, Bridges says a new list of names will be published approximately every three months.