HARRISBURG – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced auditors found corporate tax return errors amounting to $35.4 million in unpaid taxes owed to the commonwealth.
“We can debate tax rates all day and April 15 might be the perfect day, but I think everyone can agree that if you owe the tax you should pay it, and we found $35.4 million in corporate taxes that is owed to the commonwealth,” DePasquale said at a news conference in the Capitol today.
“This money should be part of the state budget and could be used to offset some of the devastating budget cuts made in the past two years.”
The Department of the Auditor General’s Bureau of State and Federal Audits reviews corporate tax returns after being processed by the Department of Revenue, in accordance with Act 119 of 2006. More than 20,000 corporate returns were reviewed between Feb. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31 revealing more than 1,250 returns with errors amounting to $46.3 million. Overall, corporations underpaid $40.8 million and overpaid $5.5 million, resulting in $35.4 million owed to the commonwealth.
“Working with the Department of Revenue to verify corporate tax returns is one of the valuable services we provide to taxpayers,” DePasquale said. “We all want to know that the other guy is paying their fair share.”
DePasquale sent a letter today to Revenue Secretary Daniel Meuser about the findings and urged him to aggressively collect all taxes that were underpaid, return the overpayments and send the difference to the state treasury, so it can be factored into the ongoing state budget debate.
“In a $28 billion budget, $35.4 million may not seem like a lot, but it is enough to restore some of the devastating budget cuts made in the past two years,” DePasquale said, noting:
· $8.9 million in cuts could be restored for environmental programs such as state parks and forests;
· $12.4 million in cuts could be restored for education programs such as adult and family literacy, school safety and job training;
· $4.3 million in cuts could be restored for health programs and services such as school district health services, and local health departments;
· $768,000 in cuts could be restored for law enforcement programs such as the child predator interception unit, and drug law enforcement; and
· $7.6 million in cuts could be restored for veterans homes.
“After restoring all of those budget cuts, we would still have about $1.3 million to restore other cuts,” DePasquale said.