Watchdog 10: Columbus Owed More Than $17 Million From Tax Cheats


UPDATED: Monday February 4, 2013 7:33 PM

A Columbus business owner tracked down by Watchdog 10 has not paid city income taxes in almost a decade.

“Well, I realize I have a tax debt,” said the man when Watchdog 10 went to his office.

He owes nearly $17,000 since 2004.

“I went through an incredibly horrible divorce; she destroyed me financially.  This is not a matter of theft or anything, it's a matter of me not having any money,” said the man.

The business owner is far from unique.

Watchdog 10 has found thousands of people owe the city back taxes.

They include a former owner of a Burger King who failed to pay year after year.

There’s the hotel entrepreneur who once lived in an $850,000 home in Upper Arlington. His now out-of-business company owes $49,000. Records show that he has ties to a security company, but people there told Watchdog 10 that they have not seen him for weeks.

Altogether, income tax evaders own the city tax department more than $17 million.

City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer urges people to pay up, so he doesn't have to chase them down. The city will send notices and make phone calls. If you don't pay, Pfeiffer will eventually take you to court.

“We will sue you, and then we will get a judgment against you and it will be on your record,” said Pfeiffer.

Then, it gets worse.

“We send our judgment to outside collectors who can be---within the law--very aggressive about getting those taxes paid,” said Pfeiffer.

While Pfeiffer said that usually works, so far, it has not for the business owner who must pay $17,000.

“I have not made payments yet. I am behind with everyone,” said the man.

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