Friday, March 11, 2005

Businessman Admits Cheating Government

Sloppy Business Practices Bites Back At Bataller

LABELLE, FL. -- A LaBelle print newspaper owner admitted that he failed to
pay federal withholding taxes to the government which he had deducted from
employees' paychecks. Raoul Bataller, Jr., editor and owner of the Hendry-Glades
Sunday News said that he neglected to pay the IRS $12,200 over four years,
and after being caught had to pay an additional $13,000 in penalties and
interest to the IRS.

In a recent editorial in his local print paper, Bataller lambasts the IRS
for picking on him. He says the Feds are levying another $17,000 against
his business, and says they began confiscating $1000 per week starting the
week before Christmas. "There is a boiler room collection agency mentality
taking over the IRS that is barbarous," Bataller editorialized. He pleads in
his editorial against the IRS. He says "he made no profit" during his first
four years publishing the paper, and rationalized that perhaps he should not
pay the penalty because of "the public service rendered by us in a rural
area that cries out for modernization of its institutions."

Bataller noted that his record keeping wasn't always up to date since
starting the paper in March of 1996. At least one former employee had to
complain to the IRS that his wage statements from Bateller didn't agree with
what he actually earned, causing a potential liability for the employee owing income taxes for wages he didn't earn.

Not mentioned in his editorial, Bataller and the Hendry-Glades Sunday News
also got into tax trouble with the state for not paying Florida Unemployment
Fund taxes for four years. The Florida Revenue agents might have been
alerted when an employee filed for unemployment benefits and then discovered
Bataller hadn't paid the state anything. The state filed a lien against the
business for that. The Florida Department of Revenue also went after him to
collect other taxes owed, issuing a warrant on the business for not paying
sales taxes on the sales of newspapers.

Bataller, also in his editorial, complained that the state gives tax breaks
to other startup businesses, but if a business such as his newspaper fails
to turn a profit soon enough, "the Federal government steps in, helps itself
to its bank account" and imposes fines.
Ironically, Bataller often harps in his editorials about local businesses
and government agencies that should take the high road and do the right
thing. His paper has been designated by local governments and agencies as
the publication of record for publishing Hendry and Glades county legal

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