SUMMARY: Parsons’ claims appear to be both true and false. Parsons says Parker doesn’t pay his taxes; Parker says he does. Legal counsel at the Alabama Department of Revenue could not legally confirm whether Parker had filed property taxes on his Montgomery home or if a lien was ever imposed.
However, documentation provided by both campaigns show a number of federal tax liens, totalling nearly $6,000, were imposed on Parker’s father’s estate. Parsons’ campaign says Parker was responsible for the unpaid taxes as administrator of the estate.
Parker’s campaign says the liens were lifted in 2003 (before he took his seat on the high court) and in 2005 (the year he was sworn in as a justice).
According to Alabama probate law, an administrator can retain and receive assets of the deceased. Parker’s spokesperson Matt Chancey said Parker has received no compensation from the estate.
ANALYSIS: Copies of documents, provided by Parker’s campaign, show a small lien was imposed on Thomas F. Parker IV and Dorothy J. Parker in April 2003, more than a year before Parker was elected to the state Supreme Court, for $556.67 on 1999 state taxes. Taxpayer advocate Kerry W. Brown wrote a letter to the Parkers two months later, explaining that the assessment had been declared “erroneous” after the couple proved the information used to determine the lien was “preliminary and incorrect.”
The Parkers were officially released of the lien in a September 2003 document. The formal lien notice lists the lien as $556.67, but Brown’s letter lists the amount as $548.18. Chancey said the difference is interest incurred on the delinquent taxes.
Bret Gray, a spokesperson for Parsons’ campaign, said Parsons’ claim is completely separate for the state tax liens. He was referring to a number of federal liens that went unpaid for years. Both Chancey and Gray provided copies of the federal liens issued to Parker at his Montgomery home from the Montgomery County probate office.
“His response is the liens were with his father’s estate,” Gray said.
Chancey agreed. The liens were against the estate of Thomas F. Parker, and Thomas F. Parker IV is the administrator of his father’s estate. As such, the notices of federal tax liens, and the subsequent documentation releasing all the liens, were sent to Parker at his Montgomery home.
Since liens totaling $253.04 were not released until 2005, it could look like Parker was shirking his personal responsibilities while serving the state as a seated justice. But the liens were released.