Why a State College floral shop owner was charged by the Attorney General’s office

Avant Garden at 242 E. Calder Way on Aug. 3, 2018.
Avant Garden at 242 E. Calder Way on Aug. 3, 2018.

The owner of Avant Garden in State College failed to pay nearly $20,000 in sales tax over a three-year period, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

Allen Baney is the president of the floral shop, which was registered for business in 2005, according to the AG’s office.

The Department of Revenue conducted a sales and use tax audit on the business for the period of January 2013 to October 2016 and the auditor found a sales tax deficiency of $19,338.65. The auditor also found that $90,566.84 collected in sales tax was not remitted.

The Department of Revenue also filed three business tax liens worth more than $62,000 and a responsible party assessment worth more than $11,000 for outstanding trust fund taxes.

The 52-year-old allegedly told a special agent that he knows there is a large sales tax liability and acknowledged some actions have been taken to pay the tax liability, but not enough has been done.

Baney also told the agent he did not know when sales tax returns were supposed to be filed or that the funds were to be remitted. The funds were instead used to operate the business, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Baney is charged with 55 felony counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received and one misdemeanor count of failure to remit sales tax.

He was arraigned before District Judge Steven Lachman, who released him on his own recognizance pending his appearance at a preliminary hearing on Aug. 15.