Johnston County collects delinquent property taxes

Johnston County has begun its collection of delinquent property taxes. Property taxes became delinquent on Jan. 6. County Tax Administrator Sheila Garner said the number of 2016 delinquent taxpayers is comparable to the previous year.

Garner said her office honors the postmark for delinquent payments.

The figures are broken down by parcels and not by individual taxpayers. A parcel is one tract of land. One taxpayer may own multiple parcels.

For 2016, there are 4,042 delinquent parcels. There were 4,075 parcels the previous year.

Garner said payment arrangement could be made only for current year taxes.

“Once a tax bill becomes delinquent, payment agreements are no longer accepted,” said Garner. If a person owes both current and delinquent taxes, Garner said they should pay the delinquent taxes first.

One sensitive collection issue is bankruptcy. “Bankruptcies are very involved and are often handled by attorneys who specialize in that area of expertise as is the case for the tax office,” said Garner. “Once we receive notification that someone has filed bankruptcy, we stop any form of collection procedures and wait for documentation that details when or if our office is to receive payment for taxes under the bankruptcy plan.

“Either way in the case of real estate, the tax eventually gets paid as the tax is a lien against the real estate.”

What if the property owners can’t be found?

“There are abandoned properties in which we have been unable to locate the owners,” said Garner. “Those properties have special circumstances surrounding them need to be resolve before moving forward with the foreclosure process.”

Johnston County’s tax collection rate was 99.84 percent as of July 5, 2016. Garner said Johnson County has the second highest collection rate in the state, the highest of any county with a population of over 100,000.

Garner explained the penalties for those few property owners who refuse to pay their taxes.

“In the current year two percent interest is added on Jan. 6, then three-fourths of one percent is added each month thereafter,” said Garner.  “We pursue enforcement collection remedies such as bank attachment, wage garnishment, levy on personal property, and foreclosure on real estate.”

A tabloid publication with all delinquent property taxes is included into today’s newspaper.

Johnston County Tax Administrator Sheila Garner

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