Tax officials: It’s not too late to pay your taxes

Published 12:58 am Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beaufort County’s tax officials have a word of advice for those property owners who have not paid their 2010 property-tax bills: It’s not too late to avoid seeing your name in print.

Property tax bills for 2010 became overdue Jan. 6, according to David Harris, Beaufort County’s assistant tax collector.

Interest has been accruing on those bills at a rate of three-fourths of a percent on the first day of the month ever since.

The Beaufort County tax office on Feb. 15 mailed some 8,709 second notices to those individuals who had not paid their property-tax bills, slightly more than the 7,764 who received second notices last year, Harris said.

Late-payment notices increased, in part, because of the downturn in the economy and because this year’s late notices were mailed earlier than last year’s late notices, Harris said.

“We’ve had a very good response to the second notices,” he said. “It has been excellent.”

He said “the overwhelming majority” of people are polite when they do show up at his office.

The good news for delinquent taxpayers is that the tax office is willing to work with those who cannot pay their entire tax bills at one time.

Harris said taxpayers may talk with him about establishing a payment plan.

He said, the tax office now accepts credit cards, allowing taxpayers to pay their bills in their entirety and then make payments to their credit-card issuer, if they prefer.

He also had a word of warning: Those taxpayers whose bills are not paid by 5 p.m. March 10 will see their names listed in the newspaper and the cost of that advertisement will be added to their property-tax bills.

In addition, all past due accounts are subject to attachment, wage garnishment and foreclosure, he said.

The future renewal of any vehicle licenses will depend on the payment of property taxes, he said.

The payment of 2010 property-tax bills brings to close the two-year process of re-evaluating the value of Beaufort County property, a process known as revaluation, which counties are required to perform at least every eight years.

The county’s revaluation came during an economic downturn that resulted in slower-than-normal real-estate sales, which serve as a benchmark for property appraisers.

That downturn in the economy also resulted in a request from Beaufort County Manager Paul Spruill to county property owners asking them to pay their property taxes earlier than they did the year before.

A number of individuals and companies responded to the request, including the county’s largest taxpayer, PotashCorp of Aurora. The company paid more than $4.27 million in property taxes on Nov. 15, 2010 and $447,477.10, the remainder of its tax bill, on Dec. 17, 2010.

“Nobody’s happy to be in the tax office,” he said, “but a lot of people are conscious about paying their taxes, and we appreciate it when they do.”

Beaufort County’s Top 25 Property Taxpayers in 2010

Beaufort County’s tax assessor mailed tax notices on some $5.612 billion in property-tax values in Beaufort County in 2010 which, at a tax rate of 50 cents per $100 valuation, would produce some $28.06 million for the county. Some $7.26 million of that total comes from the county’s top 25 property taxpayers. Here’s a list of those top 25 property tax payers in Beaufort County:

  1. PCS Phosphate Co. Inc. $4,739,763.20
  2. Purified Acid Partnership $684,398.73
  3. Weyerhaeuser Co. $624,097.34
  4. Tideland Electric Membership Corp. $138,852.19
  5. Carolina Telephone and Telegraph $100,893.30
  6. Stanadyne Corp. $85,883.45
  7. Progress Energy Carolinas $80,404.73
  8. Fountain Powerboats Inc. $79,624.72
  9. Agri-East Croup Inc. $73,355.71
  10. Flanders Filters Inc. $72,059.55
  11. Norfolk Southern $53,874.11
  12. Wal-Mart Real Estate $53,513.84
  13. VFS Leasing Co. $49,151.57
  14. Gregory Poole Leasing LLC $46,410.39
  15. Pearl Brittain Inc. $45,618.92
  16. Brown Development of N.C. LLC $44,334.44
  17. Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. $40,968.50
  18. First South Bank $36,451.85
  19. Manfred D. Alligood Jr. $36,299.90
  20. Rawls & Associates $36,290.89
  21. Prettl Appliance Systems $30,704.07
  22. Weir Value & Controls USA $29,961.94
  23. Cypress Landing Master $29,153.89
  24. Belhaven South LLC $28,775.38
  25. Reserveco Inc.  $28,583.09

Source: Beaufort County Tax Assessor