Mike Snyder — one of four Republicans running for Tarrant County tax assessor collector — still owes the Internal Revenue Service for early withdrawals from his retirement accounts years ago.
Snyder, a familiar face to many after three decades as a local TV newsman, said he withdrew the money to pay medical bills after his wife, Lyn, had a major heart attack in 2008.
Overall, medical and rehabilitation costs added up to more than $1.5 million and insurance paid roughly three-fourths of that, Snyder told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board.
“I had a decision to make: Whether to not pay the rest of the doctors and the people who were doing the rehab long term for my wife [or] taking the money I had amassed in my retirement funds, cashing that in and then using that to pay doctor’s bills,” he said. “I did take early withdrawal from my retirement funds to pay those medical bills.”
Snyder and two other Republican candidates for tax assessor collector — former Mansfield councilwoman Wendy Burgess and Trasa Robertson Cobern, a Hurst councilwoman and the daughter of “Uncle Si” Robertson on the popular reality show “Duck Dynasty” — spoke to the Editorial Board Thursday.
A fourth GOP candidate, former Keller councilman Rick Barnes, was unable to attend.
They hope to replace Ron Wright, who resigned the tax assessor post to run for the 6th Congressional District after U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, announced he would not seek re-election.
The winner of the March 6 GOP primary will face Democrat Ollie Anderson in November.
At stake in this race is an unexpired two year term that runs through 2020 and pays $173,000 annually. One of the chief duties as tax assessor collector is collecting tax money.
Paying the IRS
As for Snyder, after his wife’s heart attack, he said he ended up closing her children’s clothing business and using money from the sale of an Arlington home to help pay down money owed to the IRS.
He said he knew he would face penalties for withdrawing money early from his account. And while he said he has paid the taxes due on the withdrawal, he still owes for the penalty on the early withdrawal.
“I’m paying that over time with them because I simply can’t afford to pay it up front like that,” Snyder said. “It was a very difficult decision to make for me.
“But I felt that the people who saved my wife’s life deserved to be paid.”
Snyder estimated that the original amount due the IRS was more than $150,000. While he didn’t have firm numbers, he said he likely owes less than $40,000 now.
“I’m paying it year to year,” he said.
Asked whether they were behind in any taxes, Burgess and Cobern said they were up to date.