Saturday, June 28, 2008

The McCrankys aren't dodging taxes -- they merely declared their own personal property-tax holiday on just one of their (at least) seven homes


Young Johnny and the lovely Cindy -- it's so
hard to keep track of every last home you own

Shout-out to HuffPost for breaking this news that Newsweek now has up online. Some people will see it as good old-fashioned tax-dodging. Others may chalk it up to a wee glitch in the vast network of the McCrankys' financial holdings. Personally, we think it was a statement of principle on the part of Young Johnny and the lovely Cindy.

As we all know, before Young Johnny was for Chimpy the Prez's slash-till-it-hurts tax cuts for the rich, he was more or less against them, but now he's so crazy for them that perhaps the McCrankys are looking to find any way they can to show that Young Johnny is the tax-cuttiest tax-cutter of them all. And that's why they took their own personal four-year holiday from paying taxes on their beachfront condo in La Jolla, California:

When you're poor, it can be hard to pay the bills. When you're rich, it's hard to keep track of all the bills that need paying. It's a lesson Cindy McCain learned the hard way when NEWSWEEK raised questions about an overdue property-tax bill on a La Jolla, Calif., property owned by a trust that she oversees. Mrs. McCain is a beer heiress with an estimated $100 million fortune and, along with her husband, she owns at least seven properties, including condos in California and Arizona.

San Diego County officials, it turns out, have been sending out tax notices on the La Jolla property, an oceanfront condo, for four years without receiving a response. County records show the bills, which were mailed to a Phoenix address associated with Mrs. McCain's trust, were returned by the post office. According to a McCain campaign aide, who requested anonymity when discussing a private matter, an elderly aunt of Mrs. McCain's lives in the condo, and the bank that manages the trust has not been receiving tax bills on the property. Shortly after NEWSWEEK inquired about the matter, the McCain aide e-mailed a receipt dated Friday, June 27, confirming payment by the trust to San Diego County in the amount of $6,744.42. County officials say the trust still owes an additional $1,742 for this year, an amount that is overdue and will go into default July 1. Told of the outstanding $1,742, the aide said: "The trust has paid all bills shown owing as of today and will pay all other bills due."

Dan McAllister, treasurer- tax collector for San Diego County, said that about 3 percent of San Diego's approximately 1 million property owners default on their property taxes each year. The county assesses a 1.5 percent penalty for each month that goes by unpaid and puts houses up for sale after five years. "We do hear an awful lot of excuses for why people don't pay," McAllister said. "Under the law, the property owner is responsible for keeping the address current. We're only as good as the information we are given."

"At least seven properties," eh? No wonder it's so hard to keep track of the address to which every last property-tax bill is supposed to be sent.

And it's no wonder that ordinary Americans are so comfortable with their straight-talkin' Johnny. Why, Young Johnny must be the "home"-iest darned feller we've heard tell of since the heyday of that other American folk hero, the late Kenny Boy Lay, who you recall had to start selling off some of his homes (were there seven of them too?) in the wake of all that Enron legal fuss.

But we can all rest assured: Once the McCranky's become aware that they're about to be humiliated in a national magazine as tax deadbeats, the checkbook opens with startling rapidity.

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At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Franklin County IN, we had a sliver of our property (3 tax bills on one piece of land?!?) almost sold to pay $15 of taxes. Two years is all they will let you slide.
Perhaps CA needs to tighten that five year lag up a tad.
Our problem stemmed from a mistake in the county's tax department that send 2 bills to the actual house address and the delinquent bill to our old address in KY. We still had to pay the fine, but it galled me to do it since it was their screw up.
Franklin County, IN has also been consistently late getting tax bills out for almost 5 years. Only three times in the 10 years we have lived here has the property tax bill been sent on time AND to the correct address.

And do not get me started on snow removal. We do it ourselves since if we didn't, no one on our street would get to work, no mail would be delivered, and the school bus wouldn't be able to drive down the road.


At 7:40 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

I guess paying taxes is another of the privileges enjoyed by what the late Leona Helmsley liked to refer to as "the little people" -- along with the privilege of being stiffed when it came to paying money she owed for services rendered.

Even in the McCranky account of the tax-paying hiatus, we have to believe that nobody noticed for four years that the property-tax bills weren't being received. I don't think you or I could get away with this -- it's definitely NOT a privilege traditionally accorded to "the little people."



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