Collecting back property taxes acceleratedPublished 9:19am Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Affected property owners have 2 weeks
Time is running out for delinquent property taxpayers to get caught up with what they owe the county.
Late last week Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham sent letters to those who are behind on the terms of their contract to pay back taxes.
“They have two weeks to come into compliance,” Burcham said. “If they don’t in the two-week period, their contract will be in default and subject to any collection.”
Burcham started allowing property owners who owe back taxes to set up a payment plan to enable them to take care of their debt. The maximum time period for the contract is two years and the property owner must stay current with his taxes.
“They can pay that amount in installments over 24 months, plus the current taxes as they come due,” Burcham said.
In the past the treasurer has sent out past due notices in the fall after the second half taxes are collected. Since the tax books close on July 19, that means those back taxes are credited to the next year and not available for the county’s use until then.
“This year for the first time we are able to pull that information out of our data and I have kept staffing around and part-time people through the first half collection,” he said. “I made the decision to keep staff on for a month or so to work on this problem.”
There are approximately 250 in default either because they have made their contractual payments but haven’t paid the first half taxes or have paid the first half, but not all the payments on their contract.
“We are trying to accelerate collections and remind people of their obligation,” Burcham said.