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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Livingston – Tax Collector (2012M-160)


Released: December 14, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if the Collector performed her duties as prescribed by law for the period January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011.

Background

The Town of Livingston is located in Columbia County and has a population of approximately 3,300. The Town is governed by a Town Board which comprises four elected Board members and an elected Town Supervisor. The Town's budgeted appropriations for the 2011 fiscal year were approximately $1.5 million.

Key Findings

We found significant weaknesses with the timeliness and accuracy of how the Collector recorded, supported, deposited, disbursed, and reported tax payments.

  • Based on the Collector's records, we identified a shortage potentially totaling $2,567 of penalties and interest owed to the Town. This amount is solely based on the Collector's records.
  • Due to the Collector's poor recordkeeping practices, Town officials should conduct a full reconciliation of payments received, deposited, and remitted to determine the exact shortage amount. The Collector could not provide a definitive explanation for this shortage.

Key Recommendations

  • Take appropriate action to recover any funds determined to be owed to the Town. Develop policies and procedures for the collection and distribution of taxes, handling fees, and penalties.
  • Oversee the tax collection process, and perform an annual audit of the Collector's records. Develop a system of recording tax payments (including handling fees and penalties) that ensures each payment received is promptly and accurately recorded on the tax bills, in the software, and on the tax rolls. Assess penalties on all late payments in accordance with Real Property Tax Law.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236