Tonawanda News — The limited look-back clause of the Voluntary Disclosure Program allows for a three year look back if the reason for the oversight was “mistake, confusion, ignorance of the law, inability to comply or some other similar explanation,” according to the state website.
Ziter said the look-back agreement can vary and depends on what the state works out with the taxpayer.
If the three year period is accepted, almost 60 years of tax oversight will remain unaccounted for. Regardless, the town can’t examine records from before 1995 because a fire destroyed the department’s paperwork.
The Youth, Parks and Recreation department’s concessions began on a small-scale in the 1950s with the sale of crafts at playgrounds, and in 1992, the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center began selling merchandise, as well.
Revenue increased in 1997, when the town took over concession stands at the two arenas, and in 2011, assumed responsibility for the beverage carts and stands at Sheridan and Brighton golf courses.
Officials discovered the lapse while doing paperwork for the golf sales almost a year ago after ending a contract with Michael Vishion, whose catering company ran the food stands for four years.
The abrupt canceling of Vishion’s contract one year before it expired came just a month after Vishion challenged Town Councilman and Don Crangle, head of the town’s recreation committee, for a seat on the board. Although town officials continue to vehemently deny it, Vishion still believes cancellation of his concessions contract was the town’s attempt at political retribution.
Town officials say they hoped to retain more revenue by operating the stands in-house through the Youth, Parks and Recreation department workers. Director of the department Dan Wiles is set to report on this year’s profits at the town meeting Monday.
Regardless of the town’s true intentions, the process of taking over the golf concessions from Vishion led to officials discovering the sales tax oversight.