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Travis County seizes Spansion’s equipment

Thursday, February 12, 2009 by Austin Monitor

In response to the company’s failure to pay more than $8 million in property taxes, the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and the Travis County Attorney on Thursday seized equipment belonging to flash memory maker Spansion.


Holly Burkhardt, a spokesperson for Spansion, said the company “has never missed a tax payment in the past and is working with the tax authority to resolve the issue expeditiously.” Property taxes were due on Feb. 2.


In Fact Daily reported this morning that Spansion had failed to pay more than $8.6 million in property taxes owed to the City of Austin, Travis County and the Del Valle ISD.


Travis County Attorney David Escamilla said, “We got a court order . . . it’s a seizure of their assets in place.” He noted that the company can continue to use the equipment “but they can’t remove them from the place,” where they were seized.


Spansion, the world’s leading maker of NOR flash memory, has furloughed employees and cut shifts in an effort to deal with falling demand for its products and is reported to be seeking a buyer.


According to county records, Spansion owes Del Valle ISD $5.2 million, the City of Austin more than $1.4 million, and Travis County nearly $1.5 million. The Travis County Healthcare District is owed $240,000 and ACC $337,000.


Dusty Knight, Chief Deputy Tax Assessor for Travis County, said attorneys were speaking with Spansion’s representatives in California to try to get the tax issues resolved.


Holly Burkhardt, Spansion’s corporate spokesperson, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:


“Spansion was surprised by the action of the County Tax Compliance Division today given the company’s years of service to the Austin community, its long record of promptly paying its taxes and the fact that the company discussed its current tax obligations with the agency. The payment owed is less than two weeks late. Since 2003, in Austin the Company has paid approximately $34 million in real and personal property taxes.  We do not expect any interruption in business operations while we continue our discussions with the tax authorities. Spansion has never missed a tax payment in the past and is working with the tax authority to resolve the issue expeditiously.


Burkhardt also pointed to Spansion’s involvement in community projects since 1979, Spansion has always strived to be a model corporate citizen, supporting math and science education in primary and secondary schools, assisting families with basic needs such as food, shelter and healthcare as well as a number of other community development programs.  We recognize the numerous social programs that are funded by large taxpayers like us in the county and take our obligations very seriously.”

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