IRS Drops McHenry Tax Fines County Convinces Examiner $33,127 Problem Caused by Error IRS Drops County's $33,127 Tax Fines

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Byline: Amy E. Williams Daily Herald Staff Writer

McHenry County is out of hot water with the Internal Revenue Service.

After working for the past three months to convince IRS examiners that a late tax payment in 1996 was caused by a clerical error, county officials finally got the news they wanted to hear this week.

The IRS agreed to abate the $33,127 in fines and interest the county owed, McHenry County Finance Director Kathleen Reinertsen said.

"They decided to abate the whole penalty," Reinertsen said. "It's all taken care of. We're glad.

"Instead, we have to pay them something like $23 from last year," she said.

McHenry County Tax Attorney Roger Kasny said the county is lucky because the IRS considers late tax payments a serious offense.

However, he said, if people have a reasonable excuse for being late, the IRS listens.

Reinertsen said she decided to appeal the fine because she thought the county did have a reasonable excuse.

County officials learned about the fines last December when the IRS sent them a final notice saying they owed $33,127 in back payroll taxes.

The notice stated that if the county did not pay the taxes by Jan. 15, 1998, the IRS would seize the county's assets.

Reinertsen appealed, saying the fine was a mistake due to a clerical error on the county's part.

An employee wrote the wrong date on a payroll tax form in 1996, indicating the taxes were due two days earlier than they actually were, Reinertsen said. …