[4/5/22] Auditor’s Report On Douglas County Treasurer

Posted in Local Government & Meetings

A new report from the Washington State Auditor finds former Douglas County Treasurer Natalie Marx fell behind in paying $6.3 million in federal payroll tax before county commissioners ejected her from office last year.
 The audit report, issued Thursday, finds the delayed payment of the taxes cost about $101,000 in IRS late fees. A separate audit also finds that Marx’s office did not appropriately reconcile its financial statements throughout 2020.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the County paid 13 payroll taxes payments, totaling about $6.3 million, one to four days late, with the exception of one payment that was 109 days late because of a technical issue the Treasurer’s Office did not identify timely,” the report says. “These payments included payroll taxes for the County and two other junior taxing districts” — the Eastmont and Bridgeport school districts, whose tax affairs are managed by the county treasurer.
Marx worked in the Douglas County treasurer’s office as a deputy for 13 years before being elected to head the office in 2018. She accepted responsibility for the errors last August, and commissioners removed her from office in September, as allowed under state law when an elected treasurer is found to have committed misconduct. She was never accused of criminal wrongdoing.
The County Treasurer’s Office did not have a complete understanding of the IRS deadline, and leadership did not dedicate the necessary time and resources to meeting the deadline for all payroll tax payments,” the report finds.
The late payments resulted in about $30,000 in IRS late fees assessed for Douglas County, and an estimated $71,000 in late fees applied to the school districts. The IRS abated about $27,000 of the fees, and Douglas County reimbursed Eastmont and Bridgeport school districts for their federal fees.
Felisha Rosales was appointed to the treasurer’s post in December. In its written response to the audit, the county says it’s taken steps to ensure those tax and accounting oversights won’t happen again.