Every now and then comes a story of someone who gets the bright idea to "stick it to the man" and pay their taxes in
pennies or some other labor-intensive cash form. Here's a new twist on that gambit (er, a fold, actually). Paul Horner also sent this one in.
A Wichita Falls man made news last week when he was arrested while trying to pay his property taxes.
Only there’s a little bit more to the story than that. The 27-year old Texan, Timothy Andrew Norris, arrived in person at the Wichita County
Courthouse to pay his $600 property tax with individual dollar bills – only there was a twist. Or, er, a fold. Norris had allegedly folded each bill
so tightly that it “required tax office personnel approximately six minutes to unfold each bill.”
If you’re doing the math, that means that it would take 3,600 minutes – or 60 hours, longer than a work week – to unfold the bills.
Tax Assessor Collector Tommy Smyth said that the spectacle brought work in the office to a halt so he asked Norris to leave. Norris refused and
was eventually arrested and charged with criminal trespass. As you can imagine, Norris was none too happy about being arrested and attempted to break
away from the arresting officer, earning him an additional charge of resisting arrest.
Texas makes it clear that cash is an acceptable form of payment for property taxes. At Section 31.06 of the Texas Code:
A collector shall accept United States currency or a check or money order in payment of taxes and shall accept payment by credit card or
electronic funds transfer.
The same is true for the feds. There is no law that says you have to pay your taxes by check, credit card or by using the largest bills possible.
By federal law, at Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, you can pay your taxes in coins and currency:
United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal
tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.
You may not want to try this at home. When you pay your taxes in cash, you’ll need proof of payment, which means you need a receipt. If you make
it difficult for your payment to be counted, you might not get that receipt. The tax office isn’t staying open extra hours to count your money – nor
do they have an obligation to do so. I’m guessing that you could make the argument that the tax office is required to count your cash every day until
they have a total (and therefore a receipt) for you. In the case of Mr. Norris, assuming that they put a staffer on unfolding and counting his cash
payment every day, it would take over a week to process, likely making Mr. Norris’ tax payment late.
Of course, we weren’t in the tax assessor’s office that day but I’m guessing Norris didn’t offer to come back the next day. Again, we don’t know
what happened exactly. We just know it didn’t end well.
To read the complete article, see:
Texas Man Arrested
After Attempt To Pay Taxes With Dollar Bills
Wayne Homren, Editor
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