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Controller Won't Let Officials Give Up on Collecting Taxes

June 27, 1995

If City Controller Rick Tuttle were in the habit of putting his recommendations in motto form, he might pen this for a city proposal to forget about almost $750,000 in unpaid business tax accounts: Just Try Harder.

After a controller's office investigation of 412 overdue accounts totaling $748,877, Tuttle on Monday rejected the Los Angeles city clerk's recommendation to write them all off.

The city routinely writes off tax debts when it determines that the cost of collecting them would exceed the amount collected or when the debtors cannot be located.

But the controller's auditors, after reviewing many of the recent uncollectible business tax debts, said better city bookkeeping and more timely responses could yield considerably more in payments.

Tuttle cited one case in which the city attorney's office had received a written settlement offer of $6,000 on a business tax bill of $8,062. But the city attorney's office did not respond to the January, 1990, offer. After two years the statute of limitations expired, so the city was unable to collect.

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