OPINION: Questioning Dvorak’s Lien Explanation in Mountain Mail

Author’s note: The following letter has been sent to The Mountain Mail. To view this letter with supporting links and graphs, go to http://salidadailypost.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2669&action=edit.

Dear Editor:

I am astonished that the Mail published a front-page interview (October 6, “Dvorak Explains Liens”) without fact-checking statements made by County Commissioner candidate Bill Dvorak. Just as in the elk poaching incident, Dvorak portrays himself as a victim of circumstance. He deflects the topic of the liens by providing extraneous information that has nothing to do with his non-payment of employment taxes – a serious infraction.

Facts. At least eight tax liens totaling nearly $82,000 were filed against Dvorak’s businesses, “Bill Dvorak’s Kayak & Rafting Expeditions” and “Dvorak Expeditions”. The liens were for employment taxes due March, 2011 through September, 2014. All liens have been released (paid off), with the last release recorded August 2015. It’s unknown if accrued interest and penalties associated with the liens have been paid.

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment filed four liens for unpaid unemployment premiums totaling $5,777. The IRS filed four liens totaling $76,072, “on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes, and additional penalties, interest, and costs that may accrue.”

The IRS liens list the tax type as 940 and 941. Form 941 is the Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return, used to report income taxes, social security tax, or Medicare tax withheld from employee's paychecks, and to pay the employer's portion of Social Security or Medicare tax. Form 940 is the Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return.

Per the Journal of Accountancy, “Withheld payroll taxes are called trust fund taxes because the employer holds the employees’ money (federal income taxes and the employee portion of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes) in trust until a federal tax deposit of that amount is made.”

Dvorak incorrectly blamed a previous SBA loan for the reason that the IRS would not negotiate the penalties. Not true. Again, from Journal of Accountancy:

“The IRS is aggressive in assessing the trust fund penalty. Payroll taxes are the government’s money, and when the taxes are not paid, the government believes those who have not paid are taking its money. The government does not take this lightly and will not relent in its efforts to collect the amounts it is owed. For a business with numerous employees, unpaid trust fund taxes add up quickly, and the trust fund penalty consequently assessed against a responsible person can be huge. In addition, the penalty is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Even worse, failing to pay trust fund taxes can lead to criminal charges...”

In the interview, Dvorak blamed several droughts on his business problems. A trip to the AHRA website revealed that there were no droughts in 2007 or 2008, as Dvorak stated.

Dvorak said that he had to be vetted for a February 2015 visit the White House. “I was vetted, so I probably wasn’t doing anything illegal.” Apparently Dvorak isn’t sure if nonpayment of employment taxes is illegal.

Not paying taxes is illegal. Poaching is illegal. What will be uncovered next?

Chaffee County residents must question if Bill Dvorak is qualified to serve as commissioner.

Cynda Green, Salida

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