Archive for the ‘Property Taxes’ Category

Since the Dead Vote, Why Can’t They Get Tax Exemptions?

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

I grew up in Chicago. It’s legendary in Chicago that the dead vote. My father told me that during the 1960 presidential election that Democrats waited to see how many of the dead they needed to vote to ensure that John F. Kennedy won Illinois over Republican Richard Nixon (I can’t vouch for the veracity of that story).

It seems that the voting dead in Chicago also want senior property tax exemptions. In Cook County if you are over 65 and have a limited income (under $55,000), you qualify for a senior exemption. Well, since the dead can’t take it with them (or so I’ve been told) they’re apparently being generous to the living.

Cook County has begun to make sure that seniors are truly alive when taking the exemption. They’re combing the Social Security death list (this is a very legitimate use of that list) and have a contract with LexisNexis to find the living dead. Zombies aren’t eligible for that tax exemption. To date, they’ve discovered 3,809 cases representing $6.2 million of improper exemptions.

It looks like the living dead are on borrowed time in Cook County for this exemption.

49ers Sacked by Santa Clara County

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The San Francisco 49ers want a new stadium instead of playing at Candlestick Park. And in 2010 voters in Santa Clara approved the financing of a stadium. However, a monkey wrench was thrown into the plans last week when Santa Clara County eliminated $30 million in funding for the stadium. The funding for the stadium included $40 million from redevelopment agencies; the total cost of the stadium is estimated at $1.2 billion. The $30 million is from property taxes out of redevelopment zones.

City of Santa Clara officials claim the vote was done in spite of public notice laws. The only certainty is that lawsuits are sure to follow.

The Giants Face the Taxman

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Football season is over, but the New York Giants are still in a fight. The Giants faced off against East Rutherford, New Jersey in state tax court last week.

The battle is over whether or not the Giants should pay property tax on their practice facility, the Timex Performance Center. According to this story on, the issue resolves around the legislation that created the Meadowlands 40 years ago.

Back then, the suspension of property taxes attracted the New York Giants (who used to play at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York) to cross the Hudson River and play in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Now the question is whether or not the law absolves the Giants from paying property tax on ancillary facilities. The news story also notes that it’s possible the Giants could, if the Court rules against them, be forced to pay property taxes on their $1.6 billion replacement to the original Giants Stadium.

In any event, states and localities use taxes to attract businesses. This usually leads to predictable shenanigans, such as the Iowa film credit fiasco. Of course, some states do this in reverse, raising their taxes so that business figure out that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

As for the Giants, a loss in state tax court would likely be a loss for their fans as that additional cost would undoubtedly be passed on to their customers in the form of higher ticket prices.

If Statesboro, Georgia Sent Me a Property Tax Lien

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Let’s suppose there was a company in Statesboro, Georgia called “Clayton Financial and Tax.” Let’s further suppose that they didn’t pay their property tax bill, and that the business folded. Statesboro tries to find someone to pay the bill, so they put a lien on my business, in spite of my never having been in Statesboro, or having a business address outside of California.

Now, no government entity could be that dumb, right?

Well, Statesboro hasn’t gone after me, but San Joaquin County, California has gone after a Statesboro business. GMP Services, Inc. publishes Statesboro Business and Lifestyle Magazine. Apparently there was another company in Tracy called GMP Services and they didn’t pay their property tax bill. So San Joaquin County has put a tax lien on the Georgia GMP Services, a company that has never been in California. The owner of GMP is not as amused as I was, and is sending a bill to San Joaquin County for the time that he has lost and his costs.

Most likely, this has all been done by computer. The county may be contracting with a collections company; they found a match, and no human looked at the underlying records to see that there were two different GMP Services.

As for the owner of GMP Services, Allen Harkleroad, getting any money, his chances are slim and none (with none the clear favorite). No government agency in California is going to voluntarily pay. Mr. Harkleroad would have to file a lawsuit, and this case would be a tough one.

I do sympathize with Mr. Harkleroad. Tax agencies do far too many computer driven programs, where no human looks at anything until a complaint is received. The problem is that these programs bring in far too much money to go away.

As for San Joaquin County, perhaps they should only look for California entities rather than businesses throughout the country. I certainly hope they’re not going after any Smiths, Joneses, or Foxes.

Taxes Are For The Other Party

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

The Democratic National Committee has a private club (the National Democratic Club) in Washington, DC. I guess that’s not surprising–with so many politicians in Washington, a club makes sense. But even political parties (and their clubs) must pay their taxes.

In what must be described as an “Oops” moment (or moments), the DNC and the National Democratic Club missed paying their property taxes. Well, mistakes happen. But it turns out that this mistake repeated, and repeated: Pajamas Media reports that their have been 16 missed payments during the last seven years; this has caused fines, interest, and penalties that exceed $115,000.

Let’s cue Leona Helmsley: “Only the little people pay taxes.”

Property Taxes Due on Friday

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

If you’re a Californian, your second property tax payment is due this Friday, April 10th. Your payment must either be postmarked by Friday or paid by Friday to avoid penalties.

The Orange County Tax Collector has an online system available to pay your bill; many other counties have similar systems.

Where did the “Prima Donna” Dock?

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

If you’ve ever driven from Southern California to Las Vegas, the first exit on Interstate-15 when you cross into Nevada is for Primm, site of three casinos. These casinos used to be owned by the Primm family but were sold to MGM (now MGM/Mirage) in 1998. (I believe that the Primm Casinos were later divested to Herbst Gaming.)

The family patriarch, Gary Primm, bought a yacht, the Prima Donna. It’s a big yacht, 145 feet in length. The yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands and, according to Alexander Druft, attorney for Mr. Primm, was normally docked in Baja California.

The Orange County, California assessor believes that the yacht was docked part of the time during 2002 and 2006 in nearby Newport Beach, and Mr. Primm thus owes the county nearly $380,000 in property taxes (for 2003 and 2007, the years following the dockings). Mr. Primm has appealed the assessor’s office ruling; he previously won an appeal regarding 2006 (based on 2005 dockings).

So is this “harassment” as claimed by Mr. Druft or is Webster Guillory, Orange County Assessor, correct when he states, “If he owns a big boat, even if he lives in Nevada, he’s not docking it there.” Well, I know Mr. Guillory is correct in that an ocean-going vessel isn’t docked in Nevada. Still, given the precarious nature of California’s finances it’s not surprising that the assessor is looking under every rock (or at every dock) to find anything worth taxing.

News Story: Orange County Register

Property Tax Deadline Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

If you’re a Californian don’t forget that the second installment of property taxes is due tomorrow, Thursday, April 10th. That’s a postmark deadline. Most California tax collector offices have online payment systems set up, too.

Wesley Snipes in Tax Trouble…Again

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Right after Wesley Snipes found out that he’ll be sentenced on April 24th, news came out that Wesley Snipes owes $70,000 in back property taxes for his home in Alpine, New Jersey (in suburban Bergen County). The home is in the name of his production company (Kymberlyte Production Services); Snipes sold it to them for $5.6 million in 2002.

The back property tax lien has been sold to Crusader Lien Services. I’d expect this problem to be taken care of, unless Mr. Snipes now also believes that property taxes are illegal….

Hat Tip: Don’t Mess With Taxes

Domestic Partners Win Property Tax Benefit

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

The California Supreme Court ruled last week that registered domestic partners have the same property tax benefits as heterosexual spouses. This means that if registered domestic partners own a home, and one inherits the home from the other, they are entitled to the same protection from a property tax reassessment as a married couple.

Several county assessors fought a decision made by a Sacramento judge in 2005, and appealed first to the appeals court and then to the State Supreme Court. They were unsuccessful.