Company paid taxes to wrong city

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- It seems that a name, after all, isn't everything.

A state audit of taxes paid by telephone companies to various municipalities, released Monday, found some discrepancies in the figures reported -- including a mistake that has cost the city of Augusta thousands of dollars.

While Centurytel Inc. reported paying $3,720 in taxes to the city last year, the city reported collecting nothing. It turns out the Monroe, La.-based company had been paying taxes -- totaling about $11,000 in all -- since July 2003 to the city of Augusta, Ark., more than 200 miles away from the community in St. Charles County.

A Centurytel spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

That accounting mistake was among the problems the state auditor's office found, though overall it said more than 80 percent of figures reported by local governments agreed with phone companies' numbers. However, about 43 percent of companies and 37 percent of governments did not submit the information required under state law.

The reports to the auditor's office were part of a law passed last year that also is expected to lead to a rise in local taxes for many cell phone users while decreasing them for traditional landline phones starting in July.

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