Sheriff to go after delinquent taxes beginning June 1
KEYSER - Business owners who have been neglecting to pay their personal property taxes may find themselves in a bit of trouble next week.
Mineral County Sheriff Forrest Ellifritz has announced that beginning June 1 he and his deputies will begin making visits to those county businesses that have not paid their taxes. If they still do not pay, he will begin seizing their property.
Ellifritz says the businesses will not receive any final warning, as they have already been notified in several ways that the taxes are owed.
“We’ve already sent out letters and the tax notices were in the paper,” he said. “I can now start seizing property.
“For example, if you have a landscaping business, I can come take your lawn mowers, your trailers, whatever I need,” he said.
Once the property is seized, the owner will be given a certain amount of time to pay the delinquent taxes and retrieve his property.
If the taxes are not paid, the sheriff can then legally sell the seized items.
According to Ellifritz, no one in the sheriff’s department had been making an attempt to collect the taxes, and the delinquent amount for the past five years is now up to $260,277.
“No one in the past 12 years has gone out and done this,” he said, adding that, according to state law, he can only go back five years.
“The state code says it’s my duty to collect the taxes, and I’m going to collect them,” he says. “Whether I’ve got to chain some doors or seize some equipment, we’re going to collect these taxes,” he said.
The sheriff said it is easier to get individuals to pay their taxes because they have to be paid up in order to get their vehicle tags. Businesses, however, have no such requirement and it’s therefore easier for them to get away with it.
Ellifritz said he plans to begin Tuesday with the businesses that owe the larger amounts, and then work his way down the list.
Liz Beavers is managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org