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Florida forgives millions in taxes

TALLAHASSEE — For the second year in a row, Florida is giving up on collecting more than $100 million in taxes, fees and fines owed the state.

Last year, Florida wrote off more than $109 million as uncollectible. But new data collected by a state agency show that the state forgave $110.5 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, despite a budget shortfall.

A large portion written off by state officials was unpaid taxes, including sales taxes, corporate income taxes and unemployment taxes owed by businesses.

But this year, the state also closed the books on $27.5 million owed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. An agency spokesman said the money was owed by parents who had children in state supervision. Courts order parents to pay the fines, but the state must forgive the debt if it is not paid within four years.

"We pursue money owed to us as diligently as possible within the law," said department spokesman C.J. Drake.

This year's total also includes nearly $190,000 in fines owed to the Florida Commission on Ethics by public officials and others who failed to file financial disclosure forms.

Other debts written off by the state include everything from money from people who received treatment from county health departments to polluters fined for spilling oil or other chemicals.

Florida forgives millions in taxes 11/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011 11:45pm]
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