So, you sent in your state income tax return but didn't bother to include a check for the amount you owe? Better watch out. Finally, the Utah State Tax Commission is equipped to come after you.
No, the state is not outfitting tax collectors with brass knuckles and blackjacks. The new gear is a headset connecting them to a computer that automatically dials deadbeats.The computer is so much faster than the old method of using a telephone book to track down delinquent taxpayers that Tax Commission officials credit it with recovering some $4 million in back taxes.
Before the computer was installed last year at a cost of $80,000, there wasn't enough time to pursue tax bills of less than $2,000, said Richard Strong, director of the Tax Commission's collection division.
Busy tax collectors concentrated on the larger amounts owed the state, usually sales and withholding taxes due from employers. The average amount of income taxes owed is about $300, not enough to warrant attention, Strong said.
That meant that no attempt was being made to collect an estimated $14 million to $15 million in back taxes - roughly 40 percent of which is past-due income taxes.