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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Active Military Can Defer Property Taxes


I received an e-mail today from U.S. Air Force Capt. and pilot Jose Iraheta about a predicament he and his family found themselves in recently. He felt fellow troops should know what options are available when it comes to paying property taxes, otherwise, they may find themselves fighting to keep their homes.

Texas law allows for active military serving outside of the state to defer payment on property taxes until either they return to Texas or are discharged. Knowing the law, Iraheta filed the necessary paperwork where his family resides in Harris County.

However, he received notice that he was being sued while he was off fighting in the Middle East. He was told he owed $7,000 in back taxes including $3,000 in attorney fees and penalties. And, the county was ready to sell his home in a foreclosure sale to collect.

He acted quickly to bring the deferment to the county’s attention. The mistake was traced to the law firm of Linebarger, Goggan Blair and Sampson – the firm that collects unpaid taxes for Harris County, which by the way, collects for Cameron County, too, and other RGV taxing entities.

Fortunately, Iraheta's problem was resolved, but what I found interesting was that only 20 active military have taken advantage of the deferment in Harris County – a county with about a population of about 4 million people.

So, how many Valley military serving outside of Texas do you think are aware of this law? I don’t have an answer. Considering the mortgage crisis we are facing here, and folks rapidly losing their homes due to adjustable mortgages, I hope all county officials are doing what they can to get the word out.

Perhaps there’s a system in place here already. However, if Harris County didn’t have its ducks in a row, our ducks are likely zig-zaggin’ and headed for the North Pole.

For KHOU News’ story and video on Iraheta, click here.

6 Comments:

Blogger Jose said...

It's very important for military personnel, or their dependents, to contact their taxing authorities and/or appraisal district and request military waiver and deferments pursuant to Texas Property Tax Code, Section 31.02 and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Unfortunately in my case, Linebarger decided to sue me, believing they are above the law!

Captain Iraheta

Saturday, May 24, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

Captain,

I salute you for your service to this country!

I must say that I am not surprised at the law firm suing you.

They would think they are above the law because their money makes the law.

By that I mean, they spend thousands of dollars supporting various candidates in elections. Now, I am not saying they don't expect to obtain good government through their dollars. It sure can't hurt come contract talks.

V

Saturday, May 24, 2008  
Anonymous Rio Grande V said...

Mrs. Zamora,

Did you notice Rick Noriega's name in the clip?

I wonder if he will be using this law as part of his Senate campaign.

V

Saturday, May 24, 2008  
Blogger BobbyWC said...

I actually sued Linebarger and settled for a nice sum - my experience with them was they decided they can make more in the long run by violating the law than in paying out settlements in lawsuits.

I had them over a barrel and also sued Dallas - to protect their client they decided to settle

Bobby WC

Saturday, May 24, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

Capt. Iraheta,

Thank you for your e-mail. If this gets at least one serviceman to sign up, we've done our part.

Best to you.

~Melly

Sunday, May 25, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

Did you notice Rick Noriega's name in the clip?

Sorry, V. I'm not as observant as you are.

Sunday, May 25, 2008  

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