Duluth tech company owes state $1.6 millionOne of Duluth’s largest technology employers is again facing liens for unpaid tax bills.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
One of Duluth’s largest technology employers is again facing liens for unpaid tax bills.
Since November of last year, 50 Below Sales & Marketing has amassed an additional $1.3 million in state tax liens, bringing its total tax debt to more than $1.6 million, according to documents on file at the St. Louis County Recorder’s Office.
While Dave Hogge, one of 50 Below’s principal partners, would not consent to a full on-the-record interview with the News Tribune on Thursday, he did state: “A payment plan is in place. And this will be resolved by August.”
50 Below designs and develops large-scale web applications and marketing campaigns for corporate clients, hosting more than 100,000 retailer and agent/adviser websites and ecommerce stores, according to the company’s website. The 2012 BusinessNorth Directory of Business and Industry cites it as providing the equivalent of 250 full-time jobs, though Hogge said the firm’s employment numbers are lower now.
The company has experienced on-and-off tax trouble with the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service for more than a decade. Its current issues mainly involve unpaid withholding and unemployment insurance taxes. In early December, the News Tribune reported that 50 Below failed to pay some of its employees before Thanksgiving.
Before that time, 50 Below had been making significant progress chipping away at its tax debts. As of November 2011, when it paid off its last lien, the company had retired more than $3.2 million in outstanding taxes and fines. The unpaid tax lien balance stood at about $300,000 before the recent spate of claims.
Unless a lien is paid off, it can block a company’s sale or refinancing of property, according to Robyn Dwyer, director of collections for the Minnesota Department of Revenue. She said a lien can be attached not only to location-specific real property but personal property, as well.
Dwyer said she could not discuss any specific case, such as 50 Below’s, but she could speak in generalities.
“If we’re getting cooperation, there could be a payment plan worked out, but it would have to be something reasonable,” she said, noting that her department can request financial documentation.
If the Department of Revenue concludes it is not receiving sufficient cooperation from a debtor, Dwyer said it has a number of additional tools it can use, including holding a company’s officers personally liable or levying money from individual accounts.