The New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department does its business out of the Joseph Montoya Building on St. Francis Drive, named for the late US senator.
Funny, then, that one Joseph Montoya also is on the department’s list of 411 top delinquent taxpayers.
That Montoya, who owes the department $99,945 in unpaid personal income taxes, has an address listed as PO Box 5075, Santa Fe. The PO Box also is used by a company called Quantum Strategies, a “strategic marketing” firm, and several other defunct businesses.
Is there a relation between the tax scofflaw and the dead senator? “Montoya is the scion of an historic and politically significant New Mexican family that has provided over 150 years of public service to New Mexico, both locally and nationally,” a website, communitypowerusa.com, attached to the PO Box says.
A listed phone number for Quantum Strategies led to a voice mail for the “Montoya Financial Network.” Montoya did not immediately return the message.
In Santa Fe alone, the largest delinquent taxpayers owe the state more than $8.2 million—money that could fix roads, hire teachers and solve crimes. Unfortunately, the rest prove as hard as Montoya to track down. These folks have bigger problems now than making the feds’ April 15 filing date.
Slightly higher on the tax department’s wanted list is D Schutz & Co., at an office at 1925 Aspen Drive. The contracting company owes $100,984 in gross receipts taxes. Its president is listed as David Schutz, who shares a name with a former Santa Fe mayoral candidate and homebuilder.
Another company, Schutz Abstract Co., is registered to a Douglas Schutz in a nearby suite at the same address. A message left there was not returned. Until last year, David Schutz served as a New Mexico Department of Transportation commissioner. The agency did not have his current contact information.
Elusiveness is a theme with delinquent companies.
Grocery Partners, LLC, at 440 Acequia Madre, owes $248,731.
The only name associated with that company, according to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, is James H Karp, an attorney at 126 E. DeVargas St.
“Nobody here by that name,” a man who answered the listed number for Karp’s law office said before hanging up.
One man on the list would talk to SFR.
The state says A1 Jacks Wrecker Service at 2 Calle Hermosa owes $254,645 in gross receipts taxes, making him the fourth-biggest tax debtor in Santa Fe. The company at that address is now listed as “A-Jack’s Towing.” The owner, Jack Garrett, says he’s trying to pay off a debt to the state that quickly grew out of hand.
“That damn thing, it started out very small,” Garrett says. “By the time they put all their interest and stuff on it…there’s no way I can generate that type of funds.”
Garrett, 74, says he and his wife, a longtime Walmart worker, are using their Social Security checks to pay back the state.
“We’re just barely paying our lights, water and gas,” Garrett says. “It’s just life. We’ll make it. It’s not because we don’t want to [pay]. We’re just trying very hard to get it done.”
Isn’t it likely that many fail to pay state taxes because they’re broke?
“Right. It’s blood and turnip,” Shannon Baxter, an Audit and Compliance Division bureau chief with the tax department, says. With a court order, the state can seize assets and bank accounts.
Tax collectors can also, for example, raid a delinquent restaurant and empty the cash register. That happened a few weeks ago, Baxter says.
“We don’t pack heat,” she says. “We use verbal judo. And we take the state cops with us.”
The department will publish an updated list of tax deadbeats soon. Here are a few more highlights from the current list:
Top 3 New Mexico Tax Deadbeats
1. GBH Construction, Inc., Texarkana, Texas: $1,209,427.
2. Southwest Vista Development Inc, Santa Teresa, NM: $953,465.
3. Quality Care Network, LLC, San Diego, Calif.: $908,171.
Top 3 Santa Fe Tax Deadbeats
1. H & J Roto-Rooter, Inc.: $695,760. Licensed to Danny Lee Jernigan and Beverly Jo Hobday.
2. Western Partners: $384,433. Licensed to Louis E Gallegos.
3. Chaboney, Inc: $279,266. Licensed to Perry D Paulazzo.
Download the full list (.xls) HERE.