Military family seeks tax relief

Published 4:08 pm Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Suffolk man says the treasurer’s office is penalizing his Navy son for being deployed, but the treasurer’s office says it needs official notification from the service member before it can stop adding late charges to his car tax bill.

Mark Kinsey said his son, Jon Kinsey, is deployed with the USS Kearsarge. His basic training was at the end of 2014, and he was in the Chicago area for more training until last summer.

He came to the Hampton Roads area for more training, and then he shipped out in October, Kinsey said.

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“They fast-tracked him quick,” Kinsey said. “I guess they needed him pretty bad to go on this deployment on the Kearsarge.”

With everything — including getting married in that time frame — happening so fast, Kinsey said, it’s likely his son didn’t have time to notify the treasurer’s office he would be on deployment. So the treasurer’s office didn’t know and started sending bills for the vehicle the younger Kinsey had bought shortly before his deployment.

Kinsey has been collecting mail for his son in a box and noticed a red envelope from the treasurer’s office.

“That caught my attention,” he said. He emailed his son to ask if he should open it.

His son gave him permission, and the elder Kinsey was surprised to find the city wanted his son to pay taxes while he’s on the other side of the globe.

Still, Kinsey wasn’t too ruffled until he called the treasurer’s office.

“I was told point-blank, no, charges will incur until he takes care of this matter when he gets back,” Kinsey said.

He said he’s horrified at the reaction he’s gotten from the treasurer’s office.

“I was basically disgusted with how they were treating our military,” he said. “It’s not like he’s not going to pay it. He’s not here to pay it.”

Kinsey said the treasurer’s office said they couldn’t discuss the matter with him unless it had written permission from his son.

“If they’d just knock all the charges off, I’d go pay it, and he could pay me back when he got back,” Kinsey said.

Treasurer Ronald Williams said his staff is not supposed to discuss tax accounts with family members unless there is written permission.

“We bend over backwards to work with all military members,” he said.

When his office is notified beforehand that a military member will be on deployment, the office does not take any collection action during the period they’re deployed, Williams said.

“It stays the collections during that time,” Williams said. “But it does require some notification.”

Williams said his office routinely advises service members who contact his office not to worry about their taxes while they’re serving the country.

“We don’t want them doing that under those circumstances,” he said. “We bend over backwards whenever it’s brought to our attention.”