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TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2012, 11:42 A.M.

Consumers can check out businesses at state fraud website

Wondering how that contractor managed to underbid his competition by so much?  Maybe it’s because he doesn’t pay his taxes, does shoddy work or will take your money and run.

You can find out at, a website developed with the Washington state departments of Revenue, Labor & Industries, and Employment Security. The site is an effort to cut down on an underground economy of businesses that don’t play by the rules and to pursue individuals that evade paying their fair share of taxes.

Links allow consumers to check to see if a registered business is properly licensed, owes the state taxes, has had complaints filed against it, or is the subject of state enforcement actions.

The three agencies are promoting the website in connection with National Consumer Protection Week, which began Sunday.

People also can use to notify the agencies about possible tax evasion or other types of fraud, such as illegally claiming unemployment benefits, billing the state for medical services that weren’t delivered, or evading state taxes on boats, planes and vehicles.

The Department of Revenue alone uncovered more than a thousand unregistered businesses during the past fiscal year due in part to tips it received, generating nearly $69 million in taxes, penalties and interest.  It also is pursuing several criminal investigations based on tips.

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Scott Maben
Scott Maben is the Business Editor.

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