Orlando Sentinel (Florida) November 26, 2003 VOLUSIA AVOIDS $100,000 FINE; THE IRS AGREED TO REIMBURSE THE COUNTY AFTER IT WAS PENALIZED FOR LATE PAYROLLMessage 1 of 1 , Dec 1 5:06 AMView SourceOrlando Sentinel (Florida)
November 26, 2003
VOLUSIA AVOIDS $100,000 FINE; THE IRS AGREED TO REIMBURSE THE COUNTY
AFTER IT WAS PENALIZED FOR LATE PAYROLL TAXES.
BYLINE: Kevin P. Connolly, Sentinel Staff Writer
DELAND -- Volusia County caught a break from the IRS after all.
The Internal Revenue Service levied a $100,000-plus fine this summer
against Volusia County for being about three weeks late with about $1
million worth of payroll taxes a year ago.
The county paid the fine in July but vowed an appeal in hopes of
getting the money back.
On Tuesday the county announced that the appeal had worked. The IRS
has reversed its hard-line stance and is returning the $103,118 fine.
"Oh, that's good news. That's good news," Volusia County Council
member Jack Hayman said Tuesday. "We are very fortunate, in my view.
The IRS is so forgiving."
County officials said from the start the fine didn't make sense
because the mistake was an accident. The county told the IRS about it
and immediately paid the taxes. The county hadn't had any other
payment problems in the past.
"This was truly a first-time mistake," said Dave Byron, a county
spokesman. But the IRS incorrectly thought Volusia had missed
payments in the past -- a factor that might explain the amount of the
fine and the IRS's initial reluctance to cut the county a break.
The county's external auditor, James Moore & Co., discovered that IRS
files incorrectly showed it had already waived $750,000 worth of
fines against Volusia for missing other payments for payroll taxes.
An IRS spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message.
"I have completed my review of your request to adjust the penalty
assessed against you," Greg Shaw, an IRS appeals-team manager, wrote
in a Nov. 21 letter to Volusia County. "Based on the information
available, I am pleased to advise you that the penalty will be abated