Last week The Minnesota Department of Revenue launched an Internet database to brandish companies delinquent on their payments with the online scarlet letter of of tax evasion. (Once the tax is paid, the company's name is removed from the list and its sales tax permit is reinstated.)
Since the website's debut last week at least four companies have paid their debt to the state, allowing the agency to collect $124,000 -- small change compared to the upwards of $2 million the remaining some 64 businesses owe.
Nonetheless, the agency sees it's small pocketbook of triumph as rationale for continuing its debt collection using means of humiliation. Minnesota is the only state to publicly list businesses that have not paid the tax, the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal reports.
"This is exactly the type of success we were hoping for by putting this list on our Web site," said Revenue Commissioner Ward Einess. "It is important that every individual and business pay the state exactly what is owed. Customers paying sales tax trust these businesses to comply with the law."
Even ice cream shops haven't missed the list. According to the database, the Maggie Moos Ice Cream and Treatery franchise in Chanhassen owes $7,240 in sales tax. But that's nothing compared to the $259,358 owed by TNT Motorsports Unlimited in Hamel.