INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state auditor’s office said it is correcting
erroneous excise tax distributions that resulted in more than 30 Indiana
counties being underpaid about $500,000.
The mistake follows two much larger mistakes found in recent months in which
other agencies under Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels mishandled more than $500
million in tax revenue.
The excise tax error happened when an employee incorrectly made the March
distribution of nearly $20 million using what individual counties were owed
the previous month, Erin Sheridan, a spokeswoman for Republican state
Auditor Tim Berry, told The Journal Gazette for a story Friday.
Sheridan said the office was seeking refunds from counties that were
overpaid and working to send additional money to those that were underpaid.
“It’s a regrettable but correctable error,” she said.
Excise taxes are collected by the state when residents register their
vehicles. The auditor’s office — headed by an official elected separately
from the governor — sends a portion of the money monthly to Indiana’s 92
counties depending on where the people live.
For instance, Allen County, which includes Fort Wayne, received $987,853 for
its March distribution, about $18,500 less than it should have received.
The auditor’s office sent a letter notifying county officials of the error
Sheridan said counties distribute the money among other local government
units twice a year, in June and December, so the mistake isn’t causing
additional financial troubles.
The head of the state’s Department of Revenue, who was appointed by the
governor, resigned this month after it was discovered that $206 million in
local option income taxes collected by the state wasn’t distributed to
Indiana’s counties because of a computer programming error.
That error was found only after the Department of Revenue’s lone internal
auditor discovered in December that $320 million in corporate tax revenue
had been gathering, untouched, in a state holding account for more than four