POSTED: Saturday, April 25, 2009
The state Department of Taxation yesterday published the names of Hawaii's worst tax delinquents in a public shaming tactic that has succeeded in bringing millions of dollars into the coffers of several other states.
The names of 34 people and five companies were posted on the department's Web page, http://www.state.hi.us/ tax/a2_b2_2delinq.htm.
Individuals who owe more than $100,000 in back taxes and companies that owe $250,000 or more were targeted. The amounts owed include income taxes and general excise taxes. If paid, the overdue taxes would bring more than $17 million into the state treasury.
Two men, Gary T. Okumura and Dominic L. Shewcraft, owe more than $1 million each in back taxes, according to the state.
The best-known delinquent is former boxer Dennis Alexio, who owes $531,016. He could not be reached for comment.
Honolulu marketing executive Paul L. Klink, best known as creator of the "Live Aloha" slogan, was outraged to find himself listed as owing a total of $583,533.
Klink, former president and chief executive officer of Aloha Direct and Klink Inc., said he has appealed the taxes levied by the state on his businesses in 1996 and 1997. "It's in the appeals process right now. It's not right that they list our name.
"We filed returns and they were audited," Klink said. "I was ill at the time and we could not find invoices from vendors, we didn't have the documents. They taxed our whole income, they charged us as if we didn't have expenses. It's just crazy."
Klink said he has had heart attacks and other health problems. His company was dissolved and he has not worked since 2002, he said.
"I know we'll work this out but it sucks right now," Klink said. He said he did not get a heads-up from the state that his name would be posted.
The Department of Taxation said it sent letters to 41 taxpayers notifying them about the new publication policy. In response, two taxpayers made down payments and initiated a payment plan and another filed for bankruptcy. The accountant for a fourth taxpayer called the department to discuss options. As a result, those four were not listed, according to the department.
The state said the delinquents will be removed from the list when they either pay in full or negotiate an installment payment plan. People and businesses that file for bankruptcy protection will not be listed. The department will update the list periodically.
Hawaii is one of 20 states to follow the lead of California, which collected $40 million in past-due taxes after it began posting the names of delinquent taxpayers.
Owing big money
This is the list of delinquent taxpayers, individuals and businesses with large balances as of yesterday that the state Department of Taxation posted on its Web site, http://www.state.hi.us/tax/a2_b2_2delinq.htm.
Note: Total delinquent balances change monthly due to penalty and interest updates. Source: State Department of Taxation