Tax-Delinquent Businesses Now Posted Online

Businesses in Indiana who are delinquent in paying their sales tax could find themselves on a new state-mandated list posted to the Department of Revenue’s Web site. A new Indiana law went into effect Jan. 1, requires the revenue agency to post the names, addresses and county locations of all businesses in the state that have expired registered retail merchant certificates due to failure to pay their delinquent sales-tax debts.
All retail businesses in Indiana must have a valid registered retail merchant certificate on file with the Department of Revenue to lawfully conduct business in the state.
“Sales tax is a trust tax, meaning the business collects it straight from the consumer and passes it directly to the state,” Revenue Commissioner John Eckart said. “This money doesn’t come from the businesses’ pockets, and it’s not supposed to be used to fund their operations. They are to hold it in escrow, essentially, until it’s due to be paid to the state.”
Business owners who operate with an expired registered retail merchant certificate are subject to a class B misdemeanor, which can result in a fine and/or jail time. The new state-mandated list could include some businesses that have closed but have not informed the Department of Revenue.
“In those cases, we just need for the business owner to provide the proper documentation and we can remove the business from the list,” said Eckart.
Since the end of the Indiana Tax Amnesty program in 2006, the Department of Revenue has implemented a number of measures to increase the collection of sales tax. Those measures include implementing monthly billings to businesses that are delinquent, requiring that registered retail merchant certificates be renewed every two years, using professional collection agencies to recover delinquent tax debts and routinely levying businesses’ bank accounts.
Prior to 2006, billings were issued periodically, registered retail merchant certificates were given when a business first registered with the Department of Revenue and were good for the life of the business, taxpayers had more than one year of notifications before their tax debts were turned over to a collection agency and bank-account levies were issued sparingly.
The list of those businesses with expired registered retail merchant certificates due to failure to pay their delinquent sales-tax debts can be found at