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Texas Personal Property Tax - What the hell???

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  #1  
Old
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 292

Texas Personal Property Tax - What the hell???


Did anyone else get one of these? I got this bill in the mail from Dallas, Texas for Personal Property Tax on $47,000 worth of "Internet Equipment" they *claim* we own that is located in Dallas, amounting to $1300 in taxes.

I've already mailed this off to our lawyer for him to investigate, so I can't give you any details about what's on it, but I'm at a total loss to explain this.

First off, my company is located in Massachusetts, not in Texas. In fact, I've never even *been* in Texas. And we own no equipment there. None whatsoever.

The *only* thing I can think of is that for about 5 months last year we *rented* a server from RackShack for ~$110 a month. We used it for a backup radius server, never did anything with it, and closed the account in November. But at no time did we ever own the server - and any server that RackShack would be leasing for $110 a month could not possibly have a value of $47,000!

My lawyer has already assured me that they have no taxing jurisdiction over me whatsoever, but it has me perplexed and confused (I can't even figure out where the City of Dallas would have gotten my name and address!)

Did anyone else get one of these? Are you as stupified as I am? Anyone track down what the real deal is here?

- Jason



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  #2  
Old
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 44
Jason

I have lived in Texas (no where near Dallas) all my life and never have seen this kind of thing. (I think Dallas is having a budget short fall maybe its a creative way to raise money )

I also have several servers with RackShack for the past couple of years and again nothing, nor should I get anything like that.

That is strange, would love to hear what you find out about that or what the City of Dallas is thinking!

  #3  
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Maybe its a scam.... IMHO

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  #4  
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 710
yep seems like a scam. Contact the FBI and the government offices in Texas and report this.

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  #5  
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Austin, TX
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Good call on sending it to your lawyer, also do what infinity said =)

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  #6  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
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Wow, that's pretty freaky.

Love lawyers.

  #7  
Old
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Join Date: Nov 2001
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I'd love to know how this turns out, smells like scam if so it'd be a favor to us all to keep us up to date (and if it ain't a scam I think it'd be an even BIGGER favor to let us know how it turns out!).

Definitely freaky.

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  #8  
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Lubbock, TX
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Was it from a government agency, such as the City of Dallas or the Texas State Comptrollers Office? I have lived in Texas my whole life as well and never heard of that. If it didn't come from an official source it's probably a scam, but you were right to send it to the lawyer. If it does turn out to be a scam, be sure to report it to not only the Texas Comptrollers Office but also the Texas Attorney Generals Office as well.

You pay sales tax here when you buy something, taxes when you register your vehicle, and property taxes, but I never heard of a personal property tax. Heck we don't even have a state income tax.

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  #9  
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I'll do my best to keep everyone up-to-date. The thing looked very official, but that doesn't mean much (I could whip up just as official-looking a form in about half an hour in Microsoft Word, after all). It might have been a scam - that thought never crossed my mind (the only thought that really crossed my mind was "what the hell are they putting in the water in Texas???")

You folks that live down there - do you know if you have some sort of appeals or review board on taxes? Because part of this bill was a form to fill out to appeal the determination, and it explained that a hearing would be scheduled sometime in March if I chose to appeal it. Does that sound legit, or...?

It really did look like the real thing. Can't remember the agency's name that was on it, but it didn't sound too suspicious. The only thing that seemed odd to me was that the thing kept saying "Remember, the Texas whatchamacallit board (as I said, I don't remember the name of it) is charged with collecting and administering tax bills, but does not set or enforce the tax rates or valuations. Rates and valuations are set by the taxing authority in the municipality where the taxes are due." (I'm paraphrasing that, of course, since I don't have the bill in front of me). That seemed a little strange, at least to me, since here in Massachusetts each municipality sends out their own tax bills. But that could certainly work differently in Texas.

I'll let you know when we learn something new.

- Jason

  #10  
Old
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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Jason: i'm sure you're fully aware of the Domain scams that went on and the deceiving letters from Verisign. This is very similar.

Also, there are FBI web sites devoted to notifying people of the most recent scams. Take a search on google for that.

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  #11  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 26
As David from Dryline Hosting mentioned, this is not a Texas related tax. I also live in Texas and have never heard of this.

This is a scam...

  #12  
Old
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Lubbock, TX
Posts: 30
Almost any official document I have ever seen in Texas will have an official government agency letterhead (whether it be municiple, county, or state) with addresses and phone numbers on it. I do know that some municipalities in Texas will use an outside collection agency out of Austin for collection of delinquent property taxes, but only after they have given up trying to collect it themselves, which stands to reason you would have received other notices before now if that were the case.

Here is the address to the Texas Comptroller's Office
http://www.window.state.tx.us/

and the City of Dallas site:
http://www.dallascityhall.com/

As I said, once you find out it really is a scam, don't hesitate to report them to Texas, they will shut them down so fast they won't know what hit them.

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  #13  
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: houston, tx
Posts: 544
Editted... Until further research.

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Last edited by intraweb; 01-19-2003 at 09:15 PM.
  #14  
Old
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 436
Possibly not a scam. Seems there was court decision made in 2001 followed by a brief exemption period. With the state facing a $9,000,000,000 budget shortfall, you can expect them to actively pursue this source of revenue.

Quote:
“The courts have now made it clear that rendition is a clear and enforceable requirement of law,” he added. Unlike homeowners, businesses pay local property taxes on their inventories, furniture and fixtures, machinery, computers, vehicles, and other tangible assets used for the production of income. Personal property renditions, which are confidential by law, provide information that assists the appraisal district in calculating an accurate January 1 market value for a firm’s business personal property assets.
SOURCE: Harris County Appraisal District (Houston, TX):

http://www.hcad.org/cgi-bin/News/Dis...asp?news_id=12

Related info:

http://www.taxremedy.com/1-512-476-2...on-detail.html

Here's the state rendition form, but the link above indicates many counties prefer to use their own form:

http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinf...rms/50-144.pdf


Last edited by adland; 01-19-2003 at 09:24 PM.
  #15  
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 436
Quote:
Grand Jury Returns Enron Broadband Services Indictment
Alleges Filing False Business Personal Property Rendition
Monday, December 16, 2002

HOUSTON-A Harris County Grand Jury today indicted Enron Broadband Services, Inc., on a charge of filing a false business personal property rendition with the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) on April 16, 2001.

The indictment alleges that Enron Broadband Services knowingly made a false entry in a government record, a Class A misdemeanor, when employees of the corporation submitted a rendition to HCAD reporting that on January 1, 2001, a warehouse in the 700 block of North Shepherd contained only furniture and fixtures worth $500.

According to Assistant District Attorney Lester Blizzard, the warehouse actually contained sophisticated computer switching equipment and other electronic items worth significantly more.

Under Texas law, owners of tangible personal property used for the production of income are required to annually render that property to the appraisal district for the county in which the property is located.
http://www.tax.co.harris.tx.us/PressRelease/enron.htm

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