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Congresswoman Escobar Leads Letter to Governor Abbott Inquiring About the Lack of Withheld Federal Taxes for OLS Servicemembers

Yesterday, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) led a letter to Governor Greg Abbott inquiring about recent reports that soldiers deployed on Operation Lone Star (OLS) have not had their federal taxes properly withheld since October 2021.  

The letter, signed by seven additional Members of the Texas Delegation, comes as concerns have arisen that these servicemembers may be responsible for paying thousands of dollars in federal taxes because of a mistake made by the Texas Military Department (TMD).

“According to presentations being given to some soldiers who were deployed on OLS, the payroll system used to provide paychecks to soldiers calculates federal tax withholdings over 12 monthly pay periods,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, soldiers deployed on OLS have been paid twice a month, which has led the payroll system to underestimate the annual adjusted gross wages of soldiers.” 

The lawmakers continued, “By TMD’s own estimates, some servicemembers may owe as much as $8,546 in federal taxes through no fault of their own. This incident is raising many questions for soldiers who will now have to figure out if they will be able to have funds to provide to the Internal Revenue Service even though they were trusting TMD to withhold them.” 

“Since you first started OLS early last year, it has been clear the welfare of soldiers has been secondary to the political message the mission is designed to send,” the lawmakers added. “For several months there were widespread reports of late paychecks, dismal living conditions, and low soldier morale. Additionally, there have been a disturbing number of deaths by suicide on OLS, with another taking place just this week.” 

“These incidents, combined with this latest error, have continued to show just how unnecessary and disruptive this mission is for our state and our soldiers,” they concluded. “We look forward to your answers on the questions above and encourage you to provide in a timely manner not just for us, but for all of the soldiers affected.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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