KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the Tagalicud family bought this home 14 years ago they never thought a property tax error would lead to foreclosure.
Julio and Marina Tagalicud are retired papaya farmers. In 2000 they bought a home in Kapolei. But now were sent with a foreclosure notice from the City all because of a clerical error.
"None of this was my family's fault," said Vill Tagalicud, Julio and Marina's son who has been advocating on their behalf. "Somebody dropped the ball."
They were paying their mortgage to Bank of Hawaii which was taking out money for property taxes. Then in 2004 they paid off the remaining loan. The bank gave them back the money they thought was going to property taxes. Confused they contacted the city who told them their home was exempt and there was no property tax bill due.
"I trust whoever is working at a particular department to know what they are doing. It's not my responsibility to make sure they are competent at their job," said Vill Tagalicud. "The person I spoke with over the phone told me the property was tax exempt and so I questioned it. She said I'm looking at the screen and it's showing you are tax exempt and you're not going to receive a tax bill."
He says he called again later and got the same reaction. Last year they talked with a neighbor on the tax board. That's when the City realized the error and billed the Tagalicud's more than $18,000 in back property taxes due within 30 days.
"They just told me it could have been a systems error but regardless of what the error was my parents were still responsible to pay the delinquent taxes," said Vill Tagalicud.
They paid $4,300 already, but say the city told them an extended payment plan wasn't an option. That's when they contacted us.
"There is no wiggle room as far as payment of taxes," said Gary Kurokawa, Budget & Fiscal Services Deputy Director.
The property was owned by the State. It was transferred to the developer who then transferred the deed to the Tagalicud's in 2000, but it was never changed from government exempt.
The city says there are 300,000 parcels on Oahu and sometimes mistakes happen, but by law the back taxes are still owed. However the city is now willing to negotiate a payment plan.
"We empathize with the taxpayer and we want to work with the taxpayer and we understand the payments are in large sums," said Kurokawa. "I think that discussion needs to happen. The city is willing and able to go through that discussion with the taxpayer."
The Tagalicud's are still being charged $1,800 in penalties and interest. As for the foreclosure process, the City says it can be put on hold.
"We can forego or delay the foreclosure process as long as the taxpayer is in the process of making payments," said Kurokawa.
The Tagalicud's say they will pay the full amount. After all the last thing they want is to lose their $550,000 home over an $18,000 error that wasn't their fault.