Boyle clerk failed to prepare $500,000 in tax bills, auditor finds

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Boyle County Clerk Trille Bottom’s office failed to prepare tax bills for almost $500,000 in revenue for local taxing districts, according to a finding from Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon.

The tax bills for public service companies will still be prepared and the delay does not mean the revenue is lost, Bottom said Monday.

“It’s not lost revenue at all,” she said. “It’s certifications that were never billed … once we get them sent out, then the money will come in.”

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State law requires county clerks to prepare tax bills for county sheriffs to deliver and collect. According to the relevant statute, tax bills “shall be delivered to the sheriff or collector by the county clerk before Sept. 15 of each year.”

Harmon’s audit, which was released Monday, found that Bottom’s office failed to prepare 55 franchise tax bills totaling $498,492. Harmon breaks down where that revenue should go as follows:

• $250,110 for local schools;

• $59,353 for the Boyle County Public Library;

• $51,016 for the Boyle County Extension Service;

• $48,528 for the City of Danville;

• $48,422 for Boyle County Fiscal Court;

• $22,127 for fire protection;

• $17,577 for the Boyle County Health Department; and

• $1,359 for soil conservation.

“By not preparing the franchise tax bills and submitting them to the sheriff to collect, the county, school and other taxing districts did not receive the tax revenues they were entitled to,” Harmon’s audit reads. “These tax districts rely on the timely receipt of tax revenues, and by the county clerk neglecting her duties, the tax districts’ budgets and cash flows were negatively affected.”

Harmon recommended that Bottom prepare the late tax bills and ensure they are submitted in a “timely” manner in the future. Harmon’s office is referring the matter to the Department of Revenue.

Bottom said franchise tax bills are for public service companies such as railroads and utilities, among others. She acknowledged the bills did not go out on time.

“Some certifications came in and the bills did not get made on time, then other things happened throughout the year,” she said. “It’s just a matter of not being efficient with the certifications and getting the bills made and not having enough staff to where I can focus on specific things and some of my job duties get lost in the shuffle.”

Bottom said she has reassigned one of her employees to be in charge of ensuring the tax bills are handled in a timely matter in the future. Her office is also having new software installed that will allow faster processing.

Bottom said she her office will “try our best” to complete the late bills and have them to the sheriff and mailed out by Oct. 1.

“The districts are going to get their money — what should be coming to them — just in a delayed fashion,” she said.