The Baxter County Tax Collector’s Office has mailed out almost 5,000 overdue notices to businesses and individuals that have not paid their 2019 real estate and personal property taxes, Collector Teresa Smith said Wednesday morning.
The notices, which are on neon green postcards, inform the recipients that they have unpaid taxes that are now overdue. The postcards do not say how much money the recipient owes, but does list several ways to contact the Collector’s Office to find out what amount is due.
The postcards were dropped off at the Mountain Home post office Wednesday morning, and could make their way into recipients’ mailboxes by Thursday or Friday. They should all be delivered by the end of next week, she said.
Notices: Property taxes due
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Bundles of overdue tax notices sit on a countertop Wednesday morning at the Baxter County Collector’s Office. The notices were mailed out Wednesday to property owners that had yet to pay their 2019 property taxes, which were due on Oct. 15. (Photo: Scott Liles/The Baxter Bulletin)
The notices are mailed to the last address the Collector’s Office has on file for those individuals. Property owners are liable for the taxes if even if the statements and notices are returned undeliverable.
“Statements are mailed out to the last address we have on file for that taxpayer,” Smith said. “If you have changed addresses and didn’t receive a statement, you are still responsible for paying your taxes on time. Not knowing something was due is not an excuse.”
Smith’s office mailed out 5,600 delinquent notices this time last year, meaning the number of unpaid tax bills was down slightly compared to year. Baxter County usually has between 5,000 and 5,600 unpaid tax bills, Smith said.
“We were actually down a little this year, which is always nice to see,” Smith said.
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Oct. 15 was the deadline to pay property taxes. In Arkansas, taxes on real estate and personal property are paid a year after it is assessed. The tax bills that were due on Oct. 15, 2020, were for items and property assessed in 2019.
Those that failed to pay their 2019 tax bills by the Oct. 15 deadline will pay a 10 percent penalty on personal property like automobiles and a 10 percent penalty plus interest on real estate taxes.
Overdue tax payments must include all penalties to be accepted, Smith said. Her office does not accept partial payments on overdue taxes.
“We’ve had some people know they were late, and they included the 10-percent (penalty) with their payment,” Smith said. “But we’ve also had some people try to pay without the penalty, and we’ve had to return their payments.”
The Baxter County Tax Collector’s Office is located at 8 E. 7th Street in downtown Mountain Home and can be reached by phone at (870) 425-8300. Taxpayers may also visit baxtercounty.org to pay their taxes online.
Arkansas law requires all businesses and residents to assess their property each year for taxation purposes. That includes items like cars, trucks, trailers, boats, airplanes and commercial livestock. Businesses are also required to assess their furniture, fixtures, inventory and other assets.
County assessors assign estimated values to all items or property assessed, with owners paying taxes on 20 percent of that item’s value. The taxing — or millage — rate specific to a given area is applied to that amount to determine what a property owner must pay. County governments, school districts and other taxing entities then divvy up that revenue, with the local school districts receiving the lion’s share.
If a landowner fails to pay their property taxes for two years, the county turns the property over to the Commissioner of State Lands, who then holds the property for another two years while attempting to collect the overdue taxes owed the county. At the end of that period, the land is auctioned off to recoup the back taxes and other fees.
Most owners square their tax bills with the county before their lands go to auction, Smith said, but each year the state auctions off Baxter County land due to unpaid taxes.
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