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Water official says lay off my tax liens

A standard movie that is critiqued in film school is "Chinatown." Beyond the superb acting, it depicts the California water wars that took place during the Owens River Valley land grab in the early 1900s.

Water wars of a different nature are taking place in southern California. The president of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California is claiming that five municipalities within Los Angeles County are refusing to pay their water bills. The municipalities have noted that the district president is in tax litigation with the Internal Revenue Service over back taxes and tax liens.

The fact that the 42-year-old district president allegedly owes the IRS in back taxes is public information although it was not mentioned what one issue has to do with the other issue -- other than to demonstrate a bad relationship between the parties.

Apparently the Water Replenishment District garnisheed $13,000 in salary to pay for the 42-year-old's credit card debt. The $44,000 in taxes is an amount owed to the IRS and the state Franchise Tax Board.

News sources revealed that are the tax money which is owed includes $12,155 on the man's 2006 federal income tax return and $31,772 in state income taxes. The 42-year-old is apparently disputing these amounts and is negotiating with both the IRS and the state.

It is possible to negotiate with the IRS to either dispute an amount or to work out a payment plan. During any tax controversy negotiation, it may be beneficial to have a legal or other professional negotiate on behalf of a taxpayer, who may inadvertently say the wrong thing. In this case, the 42-year-old is an attorney as well, and so may be representing himself.

The matter of the unpaid water bills is still being disputed. The main issues of concern are the rate being charged and the usage amount. Water bills totaling $5.7 million are working their way through the court system.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Despite his tax liens, water official flays 'deadbeat' customers," Lance Williams, June 3, 2012

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