Sheriff’s office serves 12 businesses with delinquent tax bills

A dozen businesses in Pine Bluff that had failed to pay their business taxes for 2012 were paid a visit over the past week by Jefferson County Chief Deputy Sheriff Stanley James, who told them to pay up or their property was subject to being taken and sold.

James delivered Writs of Execution, warning the owners that if payment was not made, the county tax collector could seize property to satisfy the tax bill.

Businesses that were served the writs and the amounts owed are as follows:

• Advanced Air Solutions, 1711 S. Ohio St., or 905 Stardust Trail, Pine Bluff, $171.07 plus a $120 sheriff’s collection fee

• Ar-Tech Service Co., 3606 Jeffcoat Road, Pine Bluff, $164.48 plus collection fee

• Bush’s Liquor Store, 3201 Holiday Drive or 501 W. 6th Ave., Pine Bluff, $234.77 plus collection fee

• Contact Lens Express, 2419 S. Olive St., Pine Bluff or 2000 University Ave., Suite E, Little Rock, $621.60 plus collection fee

• Delta Computers, 2524 W. 28th Ave., or 4100 S. Hazel St., Pine Bluff, $94.37 plus collection fee

• Elm Forest Apartments, 1100 W. 6th Ave., Pine Bluff, $41.36 plus collection fee

• The Light House, 2202 S. Blake St., Pine Bluff, $873.65 plus collection fee

• Lil Steak House, 4100 S. Hazel St., or 2221 S. Olive St., Suite J, Pine Bluff, $243.12 plus collection fee

• Quality Fence Inc., 1911 Taylor Road or 308 Thomas Road, Pine Bluff, $1,030.76 plus collection fee

• Sunrise Cabinets and Trim, 2910 Miramar Drive, Pine Bluff, $376.39 plus collection fee

• Tires for U (or Tires for Less), 3820 W. 6th Ave., Pine Bluff, $188.87 plus collection fee

County Tax Collector Stephanie Stanton said Friday that two of the businesses, Delta Computers and Lil Steak House paid off their tax bills after the writs were served and that collection efforts against Contact Lens Express will be halted temporarily because the business has acquired new owners.

According to Stanton, when the county’s tax books closed last Oct. 15, there were 465 businesses that had not paid their business taxes, which totaled $359,611.27. There are 2,970 total businesses on the tax rolls, worth $7,185.110.91 in taxes for the county.

Delinquent notices were sent to all 465 businesses owing taxes on Oct. 22, 2013, and on Nov. 8, the collector’s office contacted those businesses by telephone, telling them they had until 5 p.m. that day to pay or their names would appear in The Commercial. Fifty businesses paid that day.

After 5 p.m. Nov. 8, there were still 226 delinquent businesses with a total of $48,874.66 due.

On Jan. 30, certified letters were mailed to all of the delinquent businesses, and on March 12, Certificates of Indebtedness were filed on 18 businesses owing $4,775.96 in taxes.

As of last Friday, Stanton said there are 68 businesses that still owe delinquent taxes with amounts ranging from 58 cents to $1,947.80.

Stanton said the county has a 99 percent collection rate on business taxes and as of Friday, that rate sat at 98 percent.

“We will continue to file Certificates of Indebtedness and Writs on all open businesses until we receive the tax money that is due our county,” she said. “We do have a few taxes that are deemed uncollectable. This is due to the fact that these particular businesses have closed and they are unincorporated.”

Tax collections are a year behind, and it takes two years before they can be declared delinquent and collection efforts can be made, Stanton said.

She said 75 percent of the tax money collected is returned to the public schools in Jefferson County.

“No one enjoys paying taxes but the money collected is distributed to the appropriate entities to make Jefferson County a better place,” Stanton said.