Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

February 24, 2013

Mayor doubts LOIT accuracy

(Continued)

Culver’s bill dies

State Rep. Wes Culver of Goshen introduced a bill this session that would have put an employer-based tracking system into place, but it didn’t get a hearing. He too is concerned that local governments could be short-changed by determining LOIT distributions from individual tax returns. Like Kauffman, Culver argues that not everybody who has worked over the course of a year files a state income tax return.

Culver spoke on the matter Saturday morning during the Goshen Chamber of Commerce Third House gathering. He explained that undocumented immigrants may not file a return and people who make less than $4,000 a year aren’t required to.

“So any of those people who paid our county tax here, and we employers mailed it to the state, we don’t get some of that back,” Culver said. “So the bill said you have to track it and send it all back.”

The state revenue department contends that it would take a change in the law to put into place what Culver and Kauffman want. Indiana code requires the department to use information pulled from individual tax returns to determine how much LOIT money goes back to local governments.

Bob Dittmer, spokesman for the department, said in an email that the department “would like to have the capability to cross check individual returns with employer submitted data, however that is simply beyond our current capability.”

He noted that the state is moving toward more electronic filing, both by individual taxpayers and employers and that with the increase in electronic filing, the state may be able to put a better tracking system in place.

“It is certainly a capability we want to develop going forward,” Dittmer said, “But not one that can be implemented without significant investment.”

Kauffman questions if that investment will ever come.

“This could negatively impact the cash that the state sits on,” Kauffman said. “So, is there going to be a motivation for the state to fix this?”

Managing editor Michael Wanbaugh and Staff Writer John Kline contributed to this report.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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