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94 Names Added to “CyberShame” List

New names represent fourth publication this year

October 29, 2001

BATON ROUGE - The names of an additional 94 chronic delinquent taxpayers who owe nearly $2.1 million have been added to the CyberShame list published on the Department of Revenue’s Internet web page. The new names represent 50 individuals who owe $632,248.87 and 44 businesses that owe $1,477,580.60.

In January of this year, the Department initiated its “CyberShame” program by publishing the names of chronic delinquent taxpayers. The program is based on the premise that publication of a delinquent taxpayer''s name will shame them into paying the taxes they owe.

“Our CyberShame Program has been very successful,” says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges. “Not only have we collected $1,070,349.75 from taxpayers on the list, but we also collected $240,267.28 from taxpayers not on the list, but who wanted to ensure that their names would not be published in the future. That’s a total of more than $1.3 million collected this year.”

Bridges points out that anyone with access to the Internet can view the list on the Department’s web page at www.rev.state.la.us . “There, the names, addresses, and amounts of tax owed by some of the state''s most chronic delinquent taxpayers, are listed for all the world to see,” Bridges says.

Act 257 of the 2001 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature amended Louisiana Revised Statute 47:1508 which requires a taxpayer''s records be kept confidential. The new act specifically allows the Secretary to disclose the name of any taxpayer who is delinquent in the payment of any tax collected by the Department, provided all assessments have become final and collectable by distraint and sale. Prior to passage of the act, the source of the published delinquent tax information was public record tax liens on file with the Clerk of Court in the appropriate parish.

In preparation for adding the new names, Bridges says 136 letters were mailed September 12, 2001 to notify the taxpayers that their names would be published unless payment arrangements were made within 30 days. The publication list was reduced to 94 after three accounts paid in full to avoid publication of their names, 32 had notification letters re-mailed to them because newer addresses were obtained, and seven accounts were put on hold after the taxpayers involved filed for Tax Amnesty. Tax Amnesty allows a taxpayer to pay only the tax owed and avoid paying penalty and interest. Bridges says if amnesty is not approved for those seven accounts, their names will be added to the CyberShame list on November 30. She adds that the CyberShame list will be updated with a new list of names approximately every three months.