The South Dakota Department of Revenue says not paying your taxes hurts all South Dakotans:
The State of South Dakota relies heavily upon tax revenues to help provide vital public services, from public safety and transportation to health care services and education, for our citizens. Businesses that fail to pay taxes that are owed by law place an unfair burden on those that do pay them. When this happens all citizens of South Dakota suffer [SD Dept. Revenue, “Top Delinquencies,” state website, downloaded 2015.04.22].
SD Revenue issues this stern scolding at the top of its “Top Delinquencies” website, where the department lists the biggest business-tax cheats in the state. The current roster, updated today, April 22, lists 218 individuals and business entities who owe South Dakota a total of $9.88 million. Only 33.5% of that amount is taxes; 2.5% is penalties; a whopping 64.0% is interest.
Ben Dunsmoor reported on this list in February. SD Revenue’s Doug Schinkel emphasized to Dunsmoor the department’s diligent pursuit of unpaid taxes:
“We just want to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to make it a level playing field for all the businesses in the state,” Doug Schinkel with the South Dakota Department of Revenue said.
…”Most of the businesses do pay the taxes that are due, however, for those who choose not to it is very important we work to collect those taxes so we can get those monies into the general fund,” Schinkel said.
…”It can be difficult to contact them because in some cases they’re out of business; in many cases they’re out of state. For various reasons it can be difficult. However, we do continue to try to collect them because it’s very important that we try to collect all the tax dollars owed to the state,” Schinkel said.
…”We hope people notice it and either give us a tip, or the actual business calls us and says, ‘I saw my name is on there and I want to get this resolved,’” Schinkel said.
Which is why state officials don’t plan on letting up on their efforts to hunt down the more than $9 million the state is owed [Ben Dunsmoor, “South Dakota’s Top Tax Debts,” KELOLand.com, 2015.02.20].
We can read these names and debts thanks to 2012 House Bill 1029, which the South Dakota Legislature passed to enact SD Revenue’s suggestion that publicly shaming these deadbeats might help us collect those unpaid taxes.
Among the top deadbeats, 22 owe six figures. The top delinquent, the decade-defunct Norris Pool Hall in Mellette County, owes $357,955.89.
Joop Bollen may owe the state $2.4 million in unpaid bank franchise taxes. That’s nearly seven times what the Norris Pool Hall owes (and I haven’t figured the interest on $2.4 million unpaid on banking activity from 2009 to 2013.). $2.4 million is more than the debt owed by top thirteen state delinquents currently listed combined.
Will we see Joop Bollen’s name on this delinquents’ list? No. The Legislature only subjected deadbeats on “sales tax, use tax, tourism tax, municipal tax, municipal gross receipts tax, contractors’ excise tax, farm machinery excise tax, motor vehicle leasing tax, and telecommunications gross receipts tax” to this public shaming. Cheat the state on bank franchise tax, hold out for six years, and the state will keep your troubles secret.
Hmmm… so collecting unpaid taxes and alleviating the unfair burden placed on the state budget and honest taxpayers is so important that our Legislature empowers the Department of Revenue to brand those non-taxpayers “delinquents” and publish their unpaid debts to the state. But they’ve left Joop Bollen, whose tax delinquency appears to be far greater than any on the public delinquents’ list, public unharried and even shielded from scrutiny of the extent to which he has unfairly burdened South Dakotans.
It wouldn’t be hard to fix this apparent disparity. Next session, all we need is one little bill, amending SDCL 10-59-46 (one of 2012 HB 1029’s creations) to insert “10-43”, the chapter authorizing the bank franchise tax, into the list of taxes included on the delinquency list.
We all agree it’s wrong not to pay taxes. Our Legislature and Department of Revenue agree we should all know who’s dodged paying the most taxes. Joop Bollen makes the folks on the current delinquent list look like pikers. It’s one thing for me to publicize Bollen’s alleged unpaid taxes; it would be quite another—quite a good, useful, and just nother—for the state to acknowledge and affirm the money its former EB-5 visa investment chief owes this state.