Mayoral candidate Finlay did not owe back taxes

Kirkman Finlay
Kirkman Finlay

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - An issue that dominated the last four days of the Columbia mayoral election this spring has been cleared up.

In the final days of Columbia's mayoral race, former city councilman Kirkman Finlay found himself answering more questions about unpaid taxes than about the issues.

Days before the runoff election between Finlay and current mayor Steve Benjamin, a report was leaked to the media showing Finlay owed more than three thousand dollars in overdue property taxes and Richland County Treasurer David Adams backed up that claim.

The Richland County treasurer's website showed Finlay's company owed $3,012.48 in unpaid 2006 tax bills for the Beltline and Harden locations of Rising High Natural Bread Co. "And they're still due right now. They're about a month late right now," said Adams in April.

Finlay denied any taxes were owed for the now-closed restaurants. "I was, and still am, unaware that Rising High owes Richland County any money," Finlay said at the time.

Four months later, Adams says Finlay was right. He didn't owe taxes at all. In fact, he received a refund of more than $4000 for the properties in question.

Finlay originally did not pay business personal property taxes assessed on kitchen equipment for his Rising High Bread Co., said Adams.

Finlay hired a company to file tax forms on Rising High's furnishings, but the Department of Revenue never actually received them.

The tax forms in question are used to calculate the full value of a business's furnishings. Because it did not receive any forms, the D.O.R had to estimate that value.

Eventually the paperwork made it to the D.O.R., and after it was filed, it showed Finlay's company owed Richland County only $1,488.  Rising High had actually already paid almost $6,000 in taxes, which resulted in a net refund of over $4,300.

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