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PNS Daily Newscast - September 28, 2020 

The New York Times reports President Trump's tax returns show chronic losses; and will climate change make it as a topic in the first presidential debate?

2020Talks - September 28, 2020 

The New York Times obtains President Trump's tax returns, showing chronic loss and debts coming due. And Judge Amy Coney Barrett is Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Study: OR Coffers Missing Some Tax Money

March 9, 2011

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon could certainly use hundreds of millions more dollars of revenue to fill the state budget gap. But a new study says the Department of Revenue (DOR) leaves more than $1 billion a year on the table, by not reaching far enough to collect it. The research says Oregon is passing up 18.5 percent of the income taxes owed by individuals.

Mary Stewart is a state tax auditor who worked on the study for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), to which many DOR workers belong. She says one concern is that state auditors only go back two years in their search for people who are supposed to file tax returns – but don't.

"If the Department of Revenue is only focusing on the last two years, then the agency's leaving money on the table. Now, we encourage people to file those years and get them done - but the activity of filing enforcement is actually only focused on the last two (years)."

Stewart says she and coworkers aren't asking for more money to allow their agency to hire more people. Instead, they want new policies that will allow them to expand their search for revenue. She knows tax collection is not the public's favorite topic, although she points out that it is necessary to fund state services.

"Every Oregonian paying their fair share, filing their tax returns, doing the right thing - is important to the quality of life that we have for all individuals. And that's the basic reason why I live in Oregon, is the quality of life."

With the current DOR director retiring this month, Stewart believes it could be an appropriate time to update the agency's rules to focus on bringing in additional tax dollars.

The report examined only personal income tax policies, not corporate taxes. It is online at SEIU shared the findings with the Legislature this week.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR