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Delinquent Taxes Have a Ripple Effect in La Marque

Every homeowner and business owner in Texas is required to pay some sort of taxes. They range from sales and use tax or franchise tax, to property tax and cigarette tax. According to the Texas Comptroller's Office, that department collects more than 60 types of taxes and fees. When a resident or business falls on hard times, they may not make their tax payments.

However, back taxes do more than jeopardize property ownership through tax liens. Delinquent taxes can result in teacher layoffs, payroll reductions and cuts to school programs. That is the ripple effect that has taken place in the La Marque school district north of Galveston.

According to news sources, the delinquent taxes owed within the La Marque school district has resulted in a $5 million budget deficit in the school district. Through layoffs, salary reductions and other cuts, the school district has been able to reduce the shortfall to $1.2 million. If the $2.4 million in back taxes were paid, the school could avoid some of the more drastic cuts.

Apparently most of the delinquent taxes are for businesses that have gone out of business. A few of the business owners are working to pay their back taxes, but it appears that many are simply in default.

The county assessor said that the overall collection rate is 95 percent, which seems to be pretty good.

Some taxes are deferred, rather than delinquent. It was reported that if people are 65 or older, they can defer their tax liability until after their death. As a practical matter the taxes would be paid out of the estate assets, although at some undetermined point in the future.

If someone owes back taxes, either property or other types of taxes, a tax professional can help find options to meet tax obligations in a safe and legal manner. The school district superintendant said, "We appreciate taxpayers who do pay taxes to the school district because that is definitely an investment in the future of the community and the kids."

Source: The Daily News, "LMISD owed $2.4M in delinquent taxes," Christopher Smith Gonzalez, July 5, 2012

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