Back Taxes Force Tax Collector and Husband into Bankruptcy

When debt becomes too much, whether that debt is taxes or credit cards, the solution can lie in filing bankruptcy.

An embattled tax collector for St. Louis County, Stacy Bailey, has not paid her own personal property taxes since 2008 and this has forced her to file bankruptcy. She also resigned her position with the county.

Bailey, 40, was hired in November to oversee the personal property tax collections and real estate of the county. However, she and her husband currently owe nearly $5,000 in back taxes on their automobiles.

The bankruptcy filing occurred last year when the couple cited debts totaling more than $390,000.

As for Bailey’s hiring, the county was not aware of her tax issues and financial problems at the time. Bailey voluntarily handed in a letter of recognition in which the contents of that letter have not been disclosed due to privacy reasons. No one has replaced Bailey as of this time.

Bailey’s annual salary on the job was $78,594. As for her bankruptcy case, it was filed in August 2011 and showed that the combined monthly income of Bailey and her husband was $7,074 per month. The debt that was being claimed consisted of credit card debt. For instance, almost $6,000 was charged to Ultimate Electronics and over $7,000 to Best Buy.

In addition to these debts, the couple has over $85,000 in student loans. Stacy Bailey holds a master’s degree in business administration and has joined the ranks of many having difficulty paying back high student loans.

The couple did file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and the federal bankruptcy judge approved their payment plan to repay $53,460 of the debt at a monthly rate of $891 per month for a period of 60 months.

A spokesperson for the county stated that it was not the bankruptcy that made them feel as if hiring Bailey was a mistake, but rather the tax issues that the couple had had. Being late on her own taxes and being a tax collector was not a good fit.

In fact, county tax records showed that Bailey had had issues with delinquent taxes since 2002. Many payments would be at least 5 months late and at one point a payment was 17 months late. This was not found at the time of her hiring.