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Federal tax lien filed against Hillsboro Free Press

Staff writer

A federal tax lien alleging non-payment of $113,765.87 in withholding and unemployment tax, penalties, and interest has been filed against Kansas Publishing Ventures, publisher of Hillsboro Free Press.

The firm also owns Newton Now, the Clarion in Andale, Hesston Record, Harvey County Independent, and McPherson News-Ledger.

The lien, filed with the Marion County register of deeds, said the Internal Revenue Service had demanded payment, but payment had not been made.

The tax lien is for $112,454.07 in unpaid withholding taxes and $1,311.80 in unpaid federal unemployment taxes. Both totals include interest and penalties dating back to December 2015.

The Free Press building, appraised at $39.700, apparently is not involved. It is not owned by Kansas Publishing Ventures but rather by the Joel D. and Nancy K. Klaassen Revocable Trust.

Joel Klaassen is a former co-owner of the business.

Current co-owner Joey Young admitted Tuesday that the taxes were not paid but said more than half the lien amount was from penalties and fines that continue to be assessed.

He said he was negotiating with the IRS to have those charges removed.

Young said the problem arose from a bookkeeper not using proper procedures. After a longtime bookkeeper left to open a business of her own, a new bookkeeper was hired, and that’s where the problem arose, he said.

“It was not getting done properly,” Young said.

Although taxes were shown as paid in the publishing company’s bookkeeping system, they were not actually being paid, Young said.

When his company received a certified letter from IRS, it began working to resolve the problem, he said.

The bookkeeper was replaced.

“It was just a situation where sometimes you learn tough lessons when you’re young,” Young said. “Tough lesson to learn, but nothing we can’t get taken care of.”

According to records filed with the Kansas secretary of state’s office, Kansas Publishing Ventures also is delinquent in filing its annual report and fee, which will result in forfeiture of its business entity status July 15 if the report is not filed. Its last annual report was filed in December 2017.

Last modified April 25, 2019

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