FORSYTH — Taney County Collector Sheila Wyatt recently presented delinquent 2011 personal property taxes in preparation for the collector’s annual settlement to the county commission.
“They are over three years delinquent,” Wyatt told the commission. “At best, Feb. 1 was the last day to institute a suit for collection and individual amounts do not justify the amount of an attorney.”
Eastern Commissioner Danny Strahan said he realizes pursuing small amounts is not feasible.
“The costs of the smaller ones, I can understand us not going after, Strahan said, “But some of the larger ...”
Wyatt said, according to a statute of limitations, once a business is defunct for more than two years, its delinquent taxes can’t be collected.
“Once they go out of business, you have no means of collecting,” Wyatt said.
Western Commissioner Brandon Williams asked if the delinquent taxes are one book, and Wyatt said “yes.”
Williams said he thought there was no action for the commission to take.
Wyatt replied that state auditors have written the county up for not having a motion to approve real estate abatements on record.
County Clerk Donna Neeley agreed, saying, “If we don’t present it to you on a monthly basis, they write us up.”
Strahan was hesitant, saying, “It’s presented to us, as the county commission, to review. I’d like to look it over.”
Williams noted a substantial loss of revenue.
“It’s $94,316 the schools are not getting,” Williams said.
Strahan said in the past, when the commission was presented with extremely large amounts of delinquent taxes, they did not approve writing them off the books the same day they were presented.
He said that approval occurred at the next commission meeting, then he asked Wyatt if her deadline for completing the collector’s annual settlement is March 1.
Wyatt said she has to balance the settlement by March 1, adding that Branson schools will lose the most revenue from writing the delinquent taxes off the books.
Strahan wanted to clarify the reason for writing the delinquent taxes off the books.
“They are basically uncollectible because the cost of the attorney is more than the bill to collect them. Is that what we’re saying?” Strahan asked.
Wyatt replied that individual personal property taxes are handled through the state license bureau.
Taxpayers cannot license a vehicle without first paying their personal property tax, but businesses are a different story.
She said if a business comes back into the state within the two-year time limit, then they are held responsible for back taxes owed, but if they don’t, the taxes are hard to collect.
“The 2011 interest is more than the bill in most cases,” Wyatt said. “The interest is 90 percent and there is a seven percent penalty.”
The commission voted 3-0 to accept Wyatt’s presentation of 2011 delinquent property tax.