State turns to technology to tail delinquent taxpayers

Computer technology is making it harder for Hawaii residents and businesses to skip out on their taxes.

The state collected more than $50 million in delinquent excise taxes since June 30, 2008, thanks to a computer program that links data from federal tax returns to state tax filings.

The state Department of Taxation has been checking federal tax returns of Hawaii residents to see if they claim business income. If they do, the state then looks to see if the same residents filed state excise tax returns. Those who didn't were sent warning letters, and many responded by paying what they owed.

The boost in delinquent tax collections comes at an opportune time for the state, which is facing a budget deficit of about $1 billion through June 2011.

However, not all the $50 million collected went to the state. The company contracted to run the project, Fairfax, Va.-based CGI Group Inc., was paid $16 million.

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