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BATON ROUGE - Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges says the Louisiana Department of Revenue will soon publish the names of chronic delinquent taxpayers that have had liens filed against them by the Department. The "CyberShame Program," so called because the names of delinquent taxpayers will be published on Revenue''s Internet web site, has already produced results.
"For the first publication of names, we identified 126 delinquent taxpayers that owe a total of $9.8 million. On November 16, the Department sent letters to 125 of them," Bridges says. "The one taxpayer not sent a letter heard about the program before his letter was mailed and found that his name was on our publication list. He came forward and submitted a payment of $300,000 and a promise to pay the balance within 30 days." Bridges says the 126 delinquent taxpayers are comprised of 48 individuals that owe $4.3 million, and 78 businesses that owe $5.5 million.
Bridges says the November 16 letter advised each taxpayer of the Department''s intent to publish their name and gave the taxpayer 30 days to take care of the delinquency. The publishing will include the delinquent taxpayer''s name(s), address(s), and the total amount each owes. "We have since heard from several taxpayers. That''s a good beginning," she says. She adds that her Department will also be issuing press releases to all media in the state to assist in publicizing the program.
Five other states have started similar CyberShame programs with good results, Bridges says. "Three are excellent examples that the program works," she says. "Connecticut has collected $64 million in three years. Illinois has collected $11 million in two years. And New Jersey collected $3.5 million in the first year."
In January 2001, the Department of Revenue will begin identifying the names of another 125 to 150 delinquent taxpayers that will be published in March. "We will continue to publish new names under the CyberShame Program approximately every three months," Bridges says.
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