Yuba County rancher owes state $257,088
A new list of California's biggest delinquent income taxpayers includes a familiar name to those who follow Yuba County government: Arboga-area rancher Frances Hofman.
According to the list released earlier this month by the state Franchise Tax Board, Hofman, a frequent critic of the county, owes the state $257,088.39.
Tom Eres, a Sacramento attorney who has represented Hofman in matters before the county, said he was unaware of her inclusion on the list and had no immediate explanation for it.
"That's not something I've dealt with at all," he said.
He did not offer further explanation after an online link to the list was sent to him. There was no public contact information for Hofman or her business.
Hofman, who state records show had a lien filed against her for the delinquent taxes in March 2008, has often assailed county agencies such as the Board of Supervisors and the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority for acting without what she has said was proper authority and ignoring ongoing problems.
But her tax delinquency is far from the largest on the list of the top 500 accounts in arrears, a dubious honor belonging to Halsey Minor of San Ramon, who owes more than $10.7 million in income taxes.
A separate list of the top corporate income tax delinquencies also has a local name: Nichols Accountancy Corp., which has its main office on Seventh Street in Marysville.
The Franchise Tax Board's list shows a debt of $321,771.34 for the accounting firm, and a lien filed against it in May 2010. A license held by the company with the state Board of Accountancy has been canceled, according to the state's list. A woman at the corporation's office Wednesday said the owner was out of state and could not be reached for comment, and she was not familiar with the issue because she had only recently joined the company. Anthony Nichols is listed as the company's chief executive officer.
Denise Azimi, a public affairs officer for the Franchise Tax Board, said a month before the list was published, everyone on the list received a registered letter warning them of their inclusion.
Often, she said, getting the letter prompts the recipient to get their taxes paid. When it doesn't, the list's publication serves as a public shaming of sorts.
"We wish we didn't have to put anybody on the list," she said. "The goal is compliance."
The total amount in arrears on both the personal and corporate income tax lists is about $220 million, which Azimi said she would concede is a small percentage of the state's overall budget or even its budget deficit.
"Every bit does help," she said. "Taxes should be fair for everyone."
When someone on the list fulfills their obligations, Azimi said, they must be removed within five business days, though often it happens more quickly.
The state Franchise Tax Board has published the list twice annually since 2007, and expanded it from 250 violations to 500 a year ago.
A separate list, published quarterly by the state Board of Equalization, tracks the state's top sales and use tax delinquencies. The most recent version of that list does not include any Yuba-Sutter businesses.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at bvandermeer @appealdemocrat.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.