County goes after taxes

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Beaufort County Tax Office will be going after delinquent taxes aggressively in the coming weeks.

During the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night, tax collector Wyn Kinion told commissioners the county tax office would move ahead with garnishing wages and bank accounts in order to collect taxes that are long past due.

“We are trying to do everything we possibly can to collect money that is outstanding,” Kinion told commissioners.

Kinion said notices have been sent to all persons not current with their county taxes and those who haven’t responded will be subject to the garnishment. For those whose property taxes are at least two years behind, the county will be looking at foreclosure on those properties, he said.

“We’ve started doing that aggressively since (Kinion) came to Beaufort County and we’ve pretty much let him have his way in how to go about collecting his taxes,” said Board Chairman Gary Brinn. “And he’s doing a very, very good job.”

Kinion has been with the tax office for a year and a half and when he took the job, set a goal to make it into the top 50 North Carolina counties for tax collection and eventually make it to the top 25.

With over $28 million of county taxes collected so far for 2014, there is still close to $1.9 million outstanding, which puts the tax office at a 94-percent tax collection rate. This year’s collection rate is down from last year’s rate of 97 percent, which is one reason why Kinion will be seeking collection through legal channels.

“I will say this, I don’t like to do the aspect of the garnishing,” Kinion said. “I would rather the person come in and take care of it voluntarily. … It’s to the point now that I’ve got to use any means available to me granted by the state of North Carolina.”

Kinion said the door to his office is open for those who owe back taxes and payment plans are an option.

“I would recommend anybody that has outstanding taxes come in and see me as soon as possible so we don’t have to do these legal actions,” Kinion said.