Courier seeks "audit" over Findlay's tax practice

From The Courier The Courier on Tuesday filed a complaint with the state Auditor’s Office seeking a “sunshine audit” of the Findlay tax administrator’s practice of granting deferrals and installments of owed and overpaid city income taxes.

The state Auditor’s “Sunshine Audit” program “is to afford individuals who believe they are aggrieved as a result of a public entity’s refusal to release records recourse to seek release without the necessity of protracted and potential expensive litigation.”

The newspaper, citing “the public interest” in a Freedom of Information Act filing on June 8, requested the names of businesses and individuals paying taxes under a deferral or installment plan.

The newspaper has not sought the amounts involved.

The city denied the request, citing the privacy of income tax returns under state law and city ordinance.

The city has said about 40 taxpayers are involved and, generally, were contacted for the deferral or installment plans by city Tax Administrator Andrew Thomas.

The city has said that Thomas has no application, criteria, or other records of the program. The city objected to using the word “program” to describe the practice.

The newspaper and city officials as recently as last week tried and failed to resolve their differences in the matter, according to Courier Editor Peter Mattiace.