The town of Crawford owes more than $30,000 to the Internal Revenue Service from improperly managing employee retirement fund matches.
Now, Lowndes County has been ordered to send the IRS the town’s vehicle tag collections until the debt is satisfied, multiple county officials confirmed.
The county received notice from the IRS this month instructing Tax Assessor/Collector Greg Andrews to divert the vehicle tag collections toward a lien the IRS placed on the town. Estimates, officials confirmed, are that Crawford will receive roughly $10,000 in real and personal property collections this year, while another $10,000 it would normally receive from vehicle tags will go instead to the IRS. At that rate, it will take at least three years for Crawford to satisfy the debt.
An IRS audit at the end of last year revealed that between September 2007 and December 2010, the town had not paid into its city employee IRA and retirement funds. Crawford city attorney Tim Hudson, who also serves as the county board of supervisors’ attorney, told The Dispatch his “understanding” is that the town’s match to employee retirement funds was “not recorded as being paid.”
“Whether it was paid or not, I don’t know,” he said. “All I can tell you is there’s a discrepancy regarding withholdings. The city clerk is trying to reconstruct everything with the advisement of an IRS case agent and get a resolution.”
Hudson also said the IRS could not complete an audit beyond 2010 because Crawford failed to keep appropriate records. He said an IRS case agent is helping the city clerk compile those records.
Multiple county officials confirmed this information off the record, citing a board of supervisors request to record the IRS notification in the minutes of its upcoming meeting Monday before commenting about the issue publicly.
Harry Sanders, president for the board of supervisors, did comment on the record.
“This has never come up with us, where we’ve had to send taxes to the IRS instead of to a city,” Sanders said. “But we spoke to the IRS and the state auditor’s office, and we know this is what we need to do.”
IRS representatives did not comment when contacted by The Dispatch, nor did District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith, whose constituency includes Crawford.
The town’s mayor, Willie Dean Parson, declined to comment on the record, instead referring questions to Hudson. Parson is serving her first term and was not in office at the time of the audit.
Sanders told The Dispatch all the documents the IRS sent the county about the tax lien will be made part of the public record after they are added to the minutes at the board of supervisors meeting Monday. Adding those documents to the minutes is not required by law, but supervisors want that information made public after they have a chance to review it, he said.
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