The receiver overseeing the dissolution of the Centax-Don Wilkinson agency said he believes most of the more than $747,000 held in a refund account resulted from excess contributions made to the fund by Centax and is not directly owed to individual taxpayers.
Paul Cordaro, an attorney with the Campbell & Levine law firm, said the refund account invariably contains some money from checks that were sent to taxpayers, but for some reason were never cashed. It would be extremely difficult to determine how much of the money is attributable to that, however, because the funds were co-mingled with other money Centax deposited into the account.
Cordaro said Centax created the fund in 2002. The firm would take money from other accounts and place it in the refund account in anticipation of paying out refunds. The issue, Cordaro said, is he believes Centax over-estimated how much money was needed to cover the projected refunds.
“It’s my understanding they did not have any rhyme or reason in deciding how much they put in,” Cordaro said.
Cordaro recently filed a motion in Allegheny County court that seeks approval of a distribution plan for all monies remaining in Centax’s accounts, including the refund account. A hearing on that motion is set for April 9.
Cordaro said he believes the majority of the money in the refund account is attributable to the excess deposits, but acknowledged there is no way for him to determine that with certainty unless the account is reconciled. He has recommended against doing that because of the effort and expense involved.
Part of the problem is Centax had not reconciled the account since 2008, Cordaro said. That means the receiver would have to review more than 300,000 checks that were issued through the account to see which ones had, and had not, been cashed to determine if individual taxpayers are owed funds.
Cordaro said that would take a team of people months to accomplish. The cost would likely “eat up” the entire balance of the account, he said. Given that he has asked an Allegheny County judge, who must approve the disbursement plan, to allow the money to be placed Centax’s general account to pay creditors.
Cordaro noted he is not in possession of any checks written out to individual taxpayers. If that were the case, efforts would be made to locate them and, if they could not be found, the check would be turned over to the state Treasury Department as unclaimed property.