Owners of local businesses who haven’t paid their personal property taxes to Lincoln County for 2011 are being given one more chance to pay up before a judgment is sought against them and additional fees are levied.
According to Lincoln County Clerk and Master Rebecca Bartlett, 35 Lincoln Countians still haven’t paid their personal property taxes for the year 2011 – those are taxes due to the county on items, such as equipment and machinery, used in a business.
“The county intends to take a judgment against those who haven’t paid their personal property taxes by the end of the day Friday,” said Bartlett, noting that in next week’s edition, The Times will publish a list of those owing personal property taxes.
Bartlett also noted that the City of Fayetteville opted to collect its owner personal property taxes for the 2011 tax year, so the new process only applies to Lincoln County personal property taxes.
“A judgment could effect these delinquent taxpayers in a number of ways, like on their credit reports when they try to buy a car or seek a loan for another major purchase,” she said. “Also, once a judgment is entered, the county can levy on those individual’s bank accounts or other holdings, without the taxpayers’ consent.”
Additionally, with a judgment, other fees will be likely be added to the already outstanding amounts, she said. Already, a $42 court fee is added to each case.
“Each of these individuals knows they have personal property taxes due here,” Bartlett continued, explaining the delinquent taxpayers have been served proper notice.
Personal property tax is different than those taxes due on real property, the clerk and master said, explaining that while taxes due on real property pertains to land and structures, taxes due on personal property pertains to items used in a business – not like business inventories or intangible property such as copyrights and trademarks, but rather machinery, equipment, furniture and supplies of businesses and farmers.
“Every year the county and city attempt to collect both real and personal property taxes that are delinquent,” she said. “Those taxes due on real property is much easier to handle … When real property taxes aren’t paid, we can sell those properties in an effort to recover those delinquent taxes.
“But with personal property, it’s more of a problem, so this year, in Lincoln County’s case, the county intends to take a judgment against those individuals who are delinquent. It’s a new way for us to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.”
Ultimately, the delinquent amounts will be reported to credit bureaus, with which banks, credit card companies and other entities check when individuals are seeking a loan. Too, the judgments will remain valid for 10 years once entered in the register’s office.
“Once it’s reported, it will be a lot harder for people to get it off their report,” said Bartlett, explaining that the implications of not paying personal property taxes can be much more far reaching.
Taxpayers delinquent with their personal property taxes can avoid further costs and the judgment by paying those past due taxes in the county clerk’s office, located in room 109 of the basement of the Lincoln County Courthouse.
For more information, contact the clerk and master’s office at (931) 433-1482.
Real Property Taxes
In the case of real property taxes delinquent for 2011, the county and the city will be pushing for a tax sale by the end of the year. Right now, though, taxpayers delinquent in their real property taxes can seek a payment arrangement with the county trustee’s office at the Lincoln County Courthouse.
Delinquent taxes for 2012 have not yet been turned over for collections.
“The last sale we had, 18 parcels were sold,” said Bartlett, noting that of those 18, the city and county had to acquire three. “Some of the parcels sold for well over what was old in back taxes.”
An additional property was redeemed when its original owner came in and paid what was owed.
A tentative tax sale for real property is set for Feb. 12, 2014.