Department of Revenue officials told Channel 2’s John Bachman they’ve added 36 tax agents in the last few months. Commissioner Bart Graham said the extra personnel will cost $2.2 million, but will pay for itself in under four months. Since the staff was added, the state has collected more than $1 million in outstanding taxes. The state put a list of all tax-delinquent businesses and individuals on its website. Bachman recently took that list and tried to confront some businesses on it. The list showed Southern Detail Suppliers in Cobb County owing $97,000. When Bachman asked for a comment, he was asked to leave.
The accounting firm Kirschner and Associates also is on the list. The list showed it owed $233,000. Bachman went to the firm twice then talked to Steve Kirschner. He said he’s worked it out with the tax agents. Calls to the Department of Revenue revealed both companies still have ongoing cases with the state. “At the end of the day, as long as you owe money you are still a tax delinquent and you are not in good standing until it is 100 percent paid,” said Graham. Graham said his administration has collected more than $600 million in back taxes during the last six years. His office recently has shut down several businesses for not paying, including three Dunkin Donuts in metro Atlanta, and the Cobb Galleria Inn in Cobb County. “A great percentage of the time the taxpayer magically produces the cash to pay off the tax obligation when we show up on site to seize the business,” Graham said. This July, the state closed five major hotels in Augusta because their owner owned nearly $1 million in back taxes. The owner paid the money, and the hotels reopened on the same day.