County Judge candidate owes $90K in back taxes

Nearly $90,000 in federal taxes is the amount owed by the Democratic candidate running for the highest elected office in Hays County, according to an initial report in the Austin Business Journal and Hays County Clerk documents.

Ruben Becerra, who is running against Republican Will Conley in the race for County Judge, has multiple federal tax liens on Gil’s Broiler and Manske Roll Bakery in San Marcos, both of which he owns, according to documents obtained by the Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch.

Review of tax and property tax documents is routinely performed by the newspapers on all candidates filing for office.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website, a federal tax lien is the government’s “legal claim” against  a property when a person or business owner neglects or fails to pay a tax debt. A federal tax lien exists when the IRS assesses a person’s or business’ liability and sends a bill explaining the debt and the person or business owner neglects or refuses to fully pay the debt in time.

According to the most recent notice issued July 16, Becerra owes $8,730.35 in federal unemployment taxes (FUTA), which business owners must report to the IRS through a 940 tax form. This debt stems from the tax period ending in December 2014.

According to the IRS, employers are responsible for paying federal unemployment tax. Additionally, FUTA provides unemployment funds for employees who have lost their jobs.

Becerra owes a combined $18,517.33 in the form of a 941 tax, or the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return,  which reports federal income tax and social security and medicare taxes withheld from each employee’s paycheck. In addition, the 941 form also includes the matching amount of Social Security and Medicare tax paid by the employer. The owed 941 taxes date back to 2013 and 2014.

The last lien on Becerra’s business is in the form of a 944 tax in the amount of $17,387.39, according to unofficial federal documents.This annual form reports what taxes were withheld from employee’s wages. Those taxes date back to 2007 to 2010, with the initial assessments happening in 2011 and 2012.

In addition, a separate federal tax lien was issued for $44,699.01 in 1040 taxes, which is used to file personal income returns. The owed 1040 taxes stem from 2014 and 2015.

Both County Judge candidates have paid their property taxes up to tax year 2017, as 2018 property taxes are due by Jan. 31, 2019. The Hays Free Press and News-Disptach looked into Conley’s financial records and his business holders and did not discover any financial liens.

Information on the liens comes after the Hays Free Press reported on a lease dispute between Becerra and the city of San Marcos that involved his acquisition of Dixie Cream Donuts in San Marcos. That lease was settled after the San Marcos City Council waived a part of what was owed by a 5-2 vote in May.

The Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch reached out to Becerra for comment on this story. Becerra did not respond prior to press time.

In addition to the tax liens, the United Way of Hays & Caldwell Counties informed the Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch that an invoice is still pending from Monica and Ruben Becerra after the couple committed to sponsoring the organization’s “Taste 2017” event. 

Wayne Becak, treasurer for United Way of Hays & Caldwell Counties, confirmed that the invoice is still outstanding. 

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