IRS puts lien on Grand Lake Chamber accounts |

IRS puts lien on Grand Lake Chamber accounts

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand Lake, CO Colorado

The Internal Revenue Service has placed a $14,800 lien on the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce for defaulting on payroll taxes twice in 2007 and once in 2009.

Roughly one-third of the lien is due to fines and interest.

The Grand Lake Chamber found out about the delinquent taxes in early 2010, according to Interim Executive Director Lisa Jenkins of Grand Lake.

The chamber board has since set up a payment plan of $600 per month with the IRS.

“We’re communicating very well with them,” Jenkins said. “They understand what our situation is.”

The executive director at the time of the defaults, and/or the treasurer, were in charge of payroll taxes, according to Jenkins.

Former Executive Director Brad Taylor faces criminal theft charges for allegedly embezzling $17,000 during his time with the chamber. That amount does not include fines and interest of payroll taxes, according to Jenkins.

Jenkins said the IRS currently is doing “its own investigation.”

The lien is on the chamber’s checking accounts, which the IRS will be monitoring.

The town owns the Grand Lake Visitors Center where the chamber operates, so the building is not considered a chamber asset.

The payment plan “has not caused a problem for the chamber functioning at this time. There is no freeze on accounts or anything,” Jenkins said.

From a $5,000 town donation along with an equal pledge match from the community, the Chamber “has enough to get through basic payroll and operating expenses,” until the 2011 budget season kicks in, Jenkins said. At that time, the Chamber will have access to membership-drive funds, which can only be applied for operations expenses in 2011.

When the chamber announced it was in financial crisis following results of a professional audit conducted over the spring and summer, the Town of Grand Lake agreed to advance $20,000 in business license funds to the chamber, using the chamber’s website as collateral. The Chamber would normally receive those funds in quarterly payments.

But the chamber has since revealed that it would prefer to continue without the advance, according to Jenkins. Accepting the town’s advance could create an opportunity for the IRS to garnish money, Jenkins said, contrary to what the taxpayer money was intended for.

“We would rather struggle,” Jenkins said. “The expenses are not that high right now that we can’t make do with it.”

Due to a recent Chamber election during which voters approved new Chamber bylaws and a new board, the Chamber now has a contracted CPA Hiratsuka Schmitt of Winter Park, which will monitor Quickbooks online. The chamber also has a contracted professional bookkeeper, Diane LeDuc, of Granby, and the organization is retaining Bondi and Company for annual audits.

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