Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board President Steve Turner this week confirmed an audit of the chamber has not been completed in more than a decade, and that federal payroll taxes were last paid in 2006.
Turner emailed chamber members with a list of “significant dates in chamber operations” that included nine items.
According to Turner’s list, 2003 was the last year for a chamber audit; 2010 marked the last audit of the Tourism Council.
Federal payroll tax reports were last filed with the IRS in 2006, and the unpaid obligation, along with applicable penalties, is to be determined during the ongoing criminal investigation.
Federal payroll taxes were sent in 2007, but no reports were filed, Turner said.
It’s also been four years since state payroll taxes were sent to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, Turner said. A total amount of past-due taxes will be determined during the criminal probe.
Federal and state payroll taxes for July will be sent to the OTC by the August due dates, and a third-party contractor will prepare and submit payroll taxes and W-2s in the future.
The last year the chamber’s real property was insured against loss was in 2009, but Turner said new insurance went into effect July 25.
Property taxes haven’t been paid for the chamber since 2010, but Turner said that balance and accompanying penalties will be paid by Aug. 31. He estimated the cost of property taxes and penalties to total about $6,000.
Last month, a Daily Press investigation revealed a potential lack of payroll tax payments from the chamber in recent years. At that time, Turner would not comment, saying only that state investigators were probing the matters and would detail information to the public at such a point when it would “not impede prosecution in a potential criminal case.”
“In the meantime, we should trust the legal system to do its work without undue interference and speculation,” Turner told the Press July 10.
In this week’s email to chamber members, Turner said he plans to provide an update on chamber activities “on an occasional basis” while he serves as president.
“In the attached document, I am sharing with you some of the key investigative findings to date, and I will be careful that these updates will not compromise or impede the ongoing criminal investigation,” Turner wrote.
“We continue to cooperate in the efforts to find and resolve issues that, in some instances, were concealed and misrepresented for a decade.”
Turner said the chamber also plans to add a “transparency page” to its website.
“We will post items such as the revised by-laws, the mandatory board training document, meeting agendas and minutes,” said Turner. “Prior to the posting of any document on the transparency page, we will send an email to all chamber members letting them know additional information is on its way.”
Turner concluded his email by saying the “future is bright.”