Friday, March 5, 2010

Late, earlier...(UPDATED)

...and I'm not referring to Daylight Savings Time...(Which is this next Sunday FWIW..Spring Forward and all of that)

(Harris County business tax deadline coming early, Houston Business Journal, 03/05/2010)
The Harris County Tax Office is taking advantage of a resolution that allows the office to turn over delinquent business personal property tax accounts to attorneys ahead of schedule.

The office will turn over accounts for collection on April 3, and a 15 to 20 percent penalty will be added to any unpaid balance. Previously, the deadline had been June 30 and accounts would have been turned over on July 1.

I wonder if Vasquez would have taken this step had he been up for re-election? For some delinquent businesses two months might not matter much, but for some that could be the difference between keeping the doors open and closing down.

FWIW: As near as I can tell, from the information in the article, this is NOT the "Business income margins tax" that Rick Perry and Republicans pushed through a few years prior. This is personal property tax, which has been with us for quite some time. What's changed is now the County (and State, through opt-in) have decided to reduce the amount of time businesses have to pay before delinquency is charged.

UPDATE: I received an e-mail from Fred King of the Tax office informing me that the original HBJ article I linked to was incorrect. According to Mr. King the HC-Tax Assessor-Collector has no choice when to send the notices out per law. Here, courtesy of the office, is the press release they sent out:
HOUSTON – March 3, 2010 – Thousands of business owners are getting a delinquent notice this week from the Harris County Tax Office that they have never seen before. It is a notice that delinquent business personal property tax accounts will be turned over to attorneys for collection on April 3 and a 15-20 percent penalty will be added to any unpaid balance.

“That probably will be a surprise for many business owners. The April 2 deadline is months earlier than delinquent real property accounts are turned over for collection,” Tax Assessor Collector Leo Vasquez stated. “I’m hoping those who owe taxes on business personal property act quickly. Twenty percent is a lot.”

The April 2 deadline falls on a County holiday and all 16 Tax Office branches will be closed. Payments will be accepted on-line at, or by telephone, 713-368-CARD, on April 2.

“The state law allowing this early turnover of business personal property accounts took effect in 2006. However, taxing jurisdictions have to opt into this process,” Vasquez explained. “Last year, only two of the jurisdictions for which the Tax Office collects had opted in. As required, we sent notices to delinquent accounts in those jurisdictions.

“In 2010, 64 of the 66 jurisdictions passed resolutions to opt in, so we are required to notify many more business owners. We’re sending about 45,000 notices,” Vasquez stated.

Each notice reminds the business owner how to pay, describes payment methods and point s out that taxpayers can avoid the additional collection penalty if they make an installment agreement with the Tax Office by April 1. Persons with questions about their accounts or their eligibility for an installment agreement or who want to arrange an installment agreement should call the Tax Office at 713-368-2000.

HCA regrets the error(s). *See comments*


  1. This item is not correct. I've sent Cory a more detailed e-mail explaining that the original HBJ story had it wrong, leading to his wrong interpretation.

  2. Uh Cory, Daylight Savings Time doesn't start until NEXT week.

  3. Yeah, I got it. Thanks. Should have read "next" Sunday. Fixed.


Comment Policy:Any comment containing profanity or presonal attacks will be disallowed. Repeated violations will get you marked as SPAM. Real name is preferred, fake names will be carefully considered before being allowed. If your on-line moniker is so widely known as to be a clear identifier, that's OK too. If your comment doesn't appear, give it some time. I do have a day job.

Sports Section