Recently, there has been a lot of attention in the media about Presidential appointees and other politicians owing back taxes. The truth of the matter is that I owe back taxes as well. However, it is not because of an accounting error. I was not being irresponsible with my money. It is not a mistake and I was not unaware. In fact, Ihave been painfully aware of my present tax situation. I have spent many a sleepless night fretting over my plight and I don't apologize. The difference between me and Senator Tom Daschel or newly appointed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is that I'm not a former CEO or a sitting U.S. Senator who can pull out his checkbook and say "Oh, I'm sorry. Let me pay that $125,000 right now."
It's not that I simply didn't pay my taxes. I live in the real world. The events and circumstances in my life leading up to this point have left me in a position where I find myself unable to pay my back taxes at the present time. Allow me to explain. For my business I held a line of credit whose primary function was to allow me to pay my taxes on time. The bank sold my line of credit (along with the lines of credit to 25,000 other businesses) to an investment firm. The investment firm immediately cut off my line of credit and altered the amortization period of the money I owed. This not only left me without a means to pay my taxes on time, but simultaneously doubled the monthly amount I originally agreed to pay. For several months I attempted to make the payments along with my other business financial obligations, but inevitably I was forced to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 2004. For those who are unfamiliar, basically in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you are required to make monthly payments to a court-appointed trustee for a specified period of time. The trustee then pays your creditors on your behalf. In my case, that specified period of time was five years. Two years after filing bankruptcy I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I had surgery to remove my right kidney in the fall of 2006. I couldn't work at full capacity for six months following the surgery. I hired help to take up the slack, but rather than making me money, it cost me more money. In 2007, I required a second abdominal surgery to repair the damage I had done to my muscle tissue by returning to work too soon. This surgery was far more invasive and the recovery was even more painful and arduous than the previous surgery. I missed another six months of work.
To summarize, since 2004 I have been forced to file bankruptcy, survived cancer and two surgeries, and over a two year period lost one year of income. I have no disability insurance, no health insurance, and no remaining savings. After paying my living expenses and meeting my obligation to the bankruptcy court, when it came time to pay my taxes there simply wasn't any money left to pay them. Why hasn't the Department of Revenue come after me for the money? Apparently it would violate the rules of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. However, when my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy expires in September 2009, they can place a tax lien against my home and business. The rules of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy also prevent me from selling or borrowing against the equity of my home until September 2009.
So, how do I expect to pay my back taxes? Unlike some people, I know that you can't borrow your way out of debt. After my Chapter 13 bankruptcy obligation has been met, it is my intention to sell my home, rather than borrow against the equity in it. The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay my back taxes. I have already made arrangements to rent a home within the 4 th Congressional District of Wisconsin after my house has been sold.
As you can see, my situation has been somewhat unique. It's not that I didn't want pay my back taxes. The events in my life have left me in a position where I find myself unable to pay my back taxes. As a candidate for public office, I feel it is important to be honest and up-front with the people that I wish to represent in Washington D.C. - the constituents of Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District.
This experience has given me an insight into real life "economic recovery"; that far too many ordinary people have been forced to become acquainted with. It is an insight that I think has escaped our current Democratic controlled Congress entirely.
Documents Available For Download
- Tax Liability Dissertation - What he wants you to know and why
- National Black Republican Association Newsletter