East Greenwich Town Solicitor Peter Clarkin owes $65,672.84 in back income taxes, placing him on the Division of Taxation’s list of the top 100 tax delinquents in Rhode Island.
Clarkin’s name first appeared on the list in December 2013. Clarkin said he was unaware his name was on the list until a few weeks ago. According to Neil Downing of the state Division of Taxation, people and business owners on the list are notified 30 days before publication to give them a chance to pay off their unpaid taxes or set up a payment schedule.
The state Division of Taxation does not discuss the status of individual taxpayers; it publishes lists of the top 100 individuals and businesses owing back taxes in accordance with state law, Downing said.
As of March 24, 78 individuals were still on the “top 100” list. The number can drop below 100, according to the website, when people on the list either pay up or go on a payment plan, according to the division’s website.
Clarkin’s unpaid tax amount is nowhere near the highest amounts owed – 2 people owe more than $1 million and 26 people owe between $1 million and $100,000. Clarkin’s $65,672.84 ranks 31st on the list.
He blamed family issues when asked about the unpaid taxes.
“This all had to do with my parents,” he said. “It’s very screwed up and I need to get it straightened out.”
Clarkin has served as EG’s solicitor since 2002. His firm, McKenney, Quigley, Izzo & Clarkin LLP, will be paid $168,000 this fiscal year – a flat fee that includes all legal work for the town, including for the Town Council, town boards and commissions, court cases and lawsuits.
Town Council President Michael Isaacs said he had talked to Clarkin about the unpaid taxes when he learned of the matter in early March.
“Of course I don’t think people should owe taxes but people have financial difficulties,” Isaacs said. “There seem to be extenuating family circumstances that led to this.”
Isaacs said Clarkin’s situation was not comparable to that of Norman Harris, owner of Norman’s Tap, which closed in February after the Town Council voted to not renew his victualling and liquor licenses because of $35,000 in unpaid sewer fees.
“We tried to let him figure out a payment plan. Unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said Isaacs of Harris. He added, if Clarkin owed $65,000 to the town, “That would be different.”
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