High society Del Mar couple on state's delinquent tax list

Couple said basic tax bill grew out of control

DEL MAR, Calif. - It is tax season and while many people are shelling out thousands of dollars to Uncle Sam, the state says there are hundreds of people in California that have not paid their income taxes.

The Franchise Tax Board released its list of the top 500 delinquent taxpayers in California (mobile users: http://bit.ly/1eiAkXO) and a Del Mar couple that is well-known in the racing community is on that list.

Jeffrey and Karen DeHaven have been on the list since 2004. They are well-known in Del Mar and threw a huge celebrity-filled party for charity in 2012.

Videos of the party on YouTube show fire performers and mermaids. "Dancing with the Stars" pro Cheryl Burke and "Real Housewives of Orange County" star Gretchen Rossi were also in attendance.

"I'm so happy to be here," Rossi says in a video.

The party for charity was hosted at their home in with tickets starting at $100 and sponsorships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.

"I've kind of united the jockeys, trainers, fans," said Jeffrey DeHaven.

The DeHavens are part of an exclusive list they would love to get off of -- the state's 500 Delinquent Taxpayers list for owing nearly $700,000.

"If you are on that list, that means you owe the state more than $100,000 in back taxes," said Daniel Tahara, who is with the Franchise Tax Board.

Tahara talked to Team 10 through Skype.

"If people aren't paying their fair share, all of Californians are the victims because it's less money in the general fund," he said.

Tahara said money in the general fund goes to teachers, firefighters, police officers, books, and repairing potholes.

The DeHavens have owned 60 race horses and court records show one horse they bought was worth $350,000.

Team 10 asked the DeHavens how they ended up on the list but they did not want to be interviewed on camera. They said it was a basic tax bill from 2004 that grew out of control and that 70 percent of the bill is penalties and fees.

Jeffrey DeHaven told a Team 10 producer that the state will not work with them and is trying to embarrass them into paying.

The tax board would not talk about specific cases.

"We definitely work with people even if you owe large amounts of money. We understand you may not be able to pay those amounts in full," said Tahara.

This party was for two charities: the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation. Team 10 checked the 990 forms for the Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation for 2012 and there were no donation listed under the DeHavens' name or "Jockey for a Cause," the name of the party.

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