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Audit faults Nassau treasurer on ticket tax collection

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is seen on

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is seen on Oct. 8, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau County treasurer's office failed to provide proper oversight of the county's collection of roughly $2 million in annual ticket taxes, according to an audit released Friday by Comptroller George Maragos.

Nassau concert venues with a capacity of more than 2,500, including the Nassau Coliseum, NYCB Theatre in Westbury, and Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, must pay the county a $1.50 per ticket entertainment tax.

The audit found that from January 2012 through March 31, 2014, County Treasurer Beaumont Jefferson's office failed to consistently require arena operators to submit complete tax returns that detail how many tickets were sold, the date of the events and the amount of ticket taxes due. The audit also found the treasurer did not always examine the tax returns and other supporting documents to ensure that taxes were computed accurately.

Maragos also criticized the office for failing to promptly deposit tax receipts, sometimes waiting 27 days to deposit the money in the bank.

"When our local residents are struggling to pay their property taxes, any weakness in collecting other taxes which can lessen their burden is unacceptable," Maragos said.

Jefferson said his office first requested assistance from Maragos in 2011 to conduct audits of the entertainment tax revenue. "It's surprising that only now, nearly four years later, the comptroller's experts are uncovering these types of problems," he said. "My office stands at the ready to implement any and all procedures necessary to protect taxpayers."

Previous Maragos audits found that the NYCB Theatre owes Nassau $548,000 in ticket taxes while SMG, the former operator of the Coliseum, owes $176,000. The operator of the Nikon at Jones Beach recently paid the county the $2,500 it owed in ticket taxes, Maragos said.


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