Thousands of North Carolinians will pay their state taxes on Monday. Joe Denson and Koren Robinson probably won’t be among them.
They top the list of the state’s tax delinquents, with debts of nearly $1.1 million between them.
All together, 490,270 taxpayers owe the state $1.12 billion. That’s more people than live in any N.C. city except Charlotte.
The amount of delinquent taxes varies but has remained about the same in recent years.
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“Combating noncompliance is always going to be an issue for the state,” said Trevor Johnson, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue. “If I pay (taxes), I want to be able to see everybody else is paying their fair share.”
Because of a federal holiday in Washington, D.C., taxes are due Monday, three days later than usual.
Collecting the tax debts isn’t easy. The posted list of debtors – which represent a fraction of all delinquents – remains virtually unchanged every year. Many have phone numbers that have been disconnected.
Johnson said the state is making every effort to collect what it can.
The department typically uses wage garnishments and tax liens to try to collect about half the unpaid taxes. About a third usually is owed by people where collection attempts have failed or the person or business has declared bankruptcy.
That’s the case with Robinson. A wide receiver, who starred at N.C. State and later in the National Football League, owes the state $497,000 in back taxes.
The Belmont native played at South Point High School and once signed a $12.7 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2014 he tried to file for bankruptcy in Raleigh. The case was dismissed when he failed to submit required paperwork. Records show he tried to file later in New Jersey, representing himself. That case was also dismissed when he failed to file the right paperwork.
Robinson, 36, said the debt has been resolved. “I’m not liable for that anymore,” he said in a brief phone interview. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Johnson said he can’t talk about individual cases because of privacy laws. But he said to be on the list of debtors, the department has to have exhausted all other collection efforts.
Denson, 64, lives in Durham. He said his debt, nearly $592,000 according to the state, stemmed from a business that made loans for car titles. He said the IRS took what it was owed, leaving him with little.
“I hate to really talk about it, but it was a business failure,” he said. “I wish I could pay it, but there’s just no way to do that … There’s nothing left.”
Mecklenburg County tax collector Neal Dixon said only about $17 million is still uncollected in taxes for the county and the city of Charlotte. Nearly 99 percent of 2015 real estate and personal property taxes has been collected. That’s about the same as last year but higher than in some previous years.
Frederick Engle of Matthews is still on the state debtor’s list. It says he owes $102,596. He was released from federal prison last October after serving time for tax evasion. He could not be reached.
Some people still dispute their inclusion on the state’s list.
Lorne Bloovol worked in real estate in Wilmington and has since moved to California. The state says he owes more than $152,000.
“I’m still trying to negotiate with them,” he said. “They came up with that figure, I still don’t know to this day how they came up to it. I probably owe $10,000 to $20,000, if that. … Their figure’s nuts.”
Researcher Maria David contributed.