RECORDS: Jackson County executive owes $45,000 in unpaid taxes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Records filed last month that were obtained by 41 Action News show Jackson County Executive Frank White and his wife owe more than $45,000 in unpaid federal taxes.

The debt dates back to 2014 and follows the release of a similar record from 2015 that showed the former Royals star and his wife owing more than $80,000 in unpaid taxes dating back to 2011.

It is still unclear if White has paid back the debt.

On Wednesday, Jackson County sent a statement to 41 Action News from White on the matter.

“As I have stated before, I get up every day and do my best to represent myself, my family and my community,” it read. “I take these responsibilities seriously and am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I have worked hard to meet my financial responsibilities, have done so in compliance with the law and am moving forward.”

The county also attached a statement from White’s personal tax preparer, who described a “financial hardship” that the county executive and his wife experienced.

The statement from accountant Ken Donnelly read as follows:

“I have been preparing Frank and Teresa White’s income tax returns for many years and during this time they have encountered a financial hardship. As a result, an installment agreement was established with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  An installment agreement with the IRS is a payment plan that provides an extended timeframe to pay taxes owed which places the taxpayer in a position of good standing with the IRS as long as the terms are met. The IRS will automatically place a lien on properties owned by the taxpayer to protect the government’s interest during the installment agreement and is a matter of formality. At this time, all tax returns both federal and the state of Missouri have been filed on time. Taxes due to the state of Missouri were paid at the time of filing. Frank and Teresa White’s income taxes are currently in compliance with the terms and conditions of the installment agreement with the IRS.”

On Wednesday, certified public accountant Scott McRuer told 41 Action News that issues with unpaid taxes can be common.

However, he said anyone that owes money to the IRS will feel the pressure of the situation.

“It’s a big deal if you owe a five-figure number to the IRS,” McRuer explained. “They have the ability to compel you to pay it. They can go attach assets. They can make you sell them. They can take possession of stuff. If you have a business, they can lock it up.”

McRuer added that making a deal to pay back the IRS is often key to moving forward.

“The best thing is to get in contact with them and try to work it out,” he explained. “They’ll gather financial information about you and learn from you how much you can pay based on predetermined guidelines for that.”

The tax issues for White come as he faces a re-election bid this November.

While the matter may bring up questions about White’s personal finances, political analyst Matt Harris does not expect the Jackson County executive race to see any shifts from it.  

“He’s only running against a member of the Green Party,” Harris explained. “There’s no Republican on the ticket. There’s probably not an electoral impact there.”

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