Town of Highlands – Receiver of Taxes and Assessments (2021M-120)

Issued Date
January 21, 2022

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Town of Highlands (Town) Receiver of Taxes and Assessments (Receiver) properly billed, collected, and disbursed taxes, fees and penalties.

Key Findings

The former Receiver, who resigned during our audit, did not properly bill, collect or disburse taxes, fees and penalties.

  • The Board did not correct deficiencies noted in our 2006 Receiver of Taxes audit, properly oversee the Receiver’s work, or establish adequate internal controls.
  • We found discrepancies totaling approximately $92,000 comprising unsupported billing adjustments, parcels not being billed, unaccounted for money, and unassessed penalties on late payments.
  • The Receiver did not create sewer and water accounts for 16 resident parcels and did not bill 70 accounts.

We also released Town of Highlands – Water and Sewer Funds’ Financial Condition (2021M-152), which addressed these issues: the Board did not monitor and amend the budgets resulting in a negative fund balance since 2016.

Key Recommendations

  • Reconcile the customer accounts to determine which taxpayers overpaid and refund those overpayments.
  • Establish and implement compensating controls to oversee the financial responsibilities performed by the Receiver.

Town officials generally agreed with our findings and indicated they plan to initiate corrective action.