BATON ROUGE – The owner of one of three businesses accused by the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) of evading tax payments in a high-profile showcase crackdown said he won’t fight the state in court.
“You can’t fight the state and win,” Bobby Craighead, owner of Extreme Cars & Trucks of Monroe told The Louisiana Record. “We’re already paying them (state)."
Craighead’s company, as well as Elliott Roofing of Metairie and Antunez Painting of Baton Rouge, were sued by the state for allegedly unpaid payroll taxes.
Kimberly Lewis Robinson, newly appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards as LDR secretary, said in a Feb. 14 St. Bernard News report that tax evading companies won’t get away with it. The effort is part of a task force created in 2017 titled “Game On,” or Government Against Misclassified Employees Operational Network, designed to prevent employers misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes.
Kimberly Lewis Robinson
According to the St. Bernard News report, Game On has been working in collaboration with the Louisiana Workforce Commission Office of Unemployment Insurance and the Office of Worker’s Compensation.
Robinson said in the report that evasion of payroll taxes to the state is a serious crime that denies state residents the funding to pay for everything from health care to road repair. She added that failure to pay taxes also allows companies to outbid other companies on state contracts because their operating costs are lower.
Requests for further comment from Robinson went unreturned.
Craighead said he owed the state approximately $40,000.
“I had a partner and when I took over the business, that was the way he ran the store,” Craighead said. “It came about because of detail people, drivers and porters (independent contractors). They went to work for us part-time. This is about (quick) turn-over; we didn’t have time to put them on the payroll.”
Craighead said he has 16 employees, but added the back-tax payments will not ruin his business.
“Business here has been good,” he said.