Delegate candidates have outstanding tax liens
Published: July 28, 2014
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ST. THOMAS - After The Daily News checked primary election candidate records for outstanding tax liens, two candidates for delegate, Emmett Hansen II and Stacey Plaskett, were found to have outstanding liens totalling $80,190.
A handful of other candidates had past liens that were released, but everyone but Hansen and senatorial candidate Justin Harrigan Sr. were truthful about their liens on The Daily News Voter Guide candidate questionnaire.
The questionnaire - sent to every candidate in the Senate, delegate and gubernatorial races - contained the following question: "Has a local or federal tax lien ever been placed on your personal assets, on property you own or have owned, or on a business you own?"
Emmett Hansen II
Hansen said on his questionnaire that he had never had a lien, however, a $43,526.43 lien was found at the Recorder of Deeds office.
The lien was for income tax filings from 2001 to 2007.
Hansen told The Daily News that he answered "no" because the lien was mistakenly placed on his account after he reviewed his own taxes for that time period and realized a mistake had been made.
"I actually went to them, and I said, 'I think there's a problem here, I don't think they were prepared right,'" Hansen said.
He said the taxes had been prepared by someone else for those years.
When the lien was first placed and he was notified, he said he immediately contacted the office to protest. He was told the lien would be removed as he had already set up a payment plan to repay the balance, Hansen said.
"It's something we came to agreement with very, very quickly," he said.
Hansen did not provide documentation from the Internal Revenue Bureau that indicated the lien had been released or that he is on a payment plan.
Plaskett has two separate liens, however, she provided documentation from Internal Revenue Bureau that showed she was on a payment plan to satisfy the tax obligation.
The first lien, for $21,778.40, was for the 2006 tax year. Plaskett said that year she had finalized a divorce and had to liquidate retirement funds, which were heavily taxed. She could not meet the tax obligation, which resulted in the lien.
The second lien is for unpaid income taxes for 2009, 2010 and 2011, filed jointly with her current husband, Jonathan Buckney-Small. The three years of taxes total $14,885.47.
She said while she is paying off the taxes owed, the Internal Revenue Bureau actually owes her more than $20,000 for 2008. She said that return currently is being audited, and when it is resolved, the refund will be credited toward her outstanding balance.
"We're current on all our other filing," she said.
Justin Harrigan Sr.
Harrigan had a lien from 1997 that was released in 2012, however, he answered "no" to the question in the Voter's Guide.
He said he misread the question, and thought it referred to current liens.
"I remember having two here, on a piece of property I had, but I know I cleared that up," he said. "I must have misread the question this time around."
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.