KEYSER – Business owners who failed to pay their personal property taxes could run into trouble next week.
Mineral County’s Sheriff Forrest Ellifritz has announced that beginning June 1, he and his deputies will be making visits to county businesses that haven’t paid their taxes. If you still don’t pay, he’ll start confiscating your property.
Ellifritz says companies will not receive a final warning as they have already been informed in various ways that the taxes are due.
“We have already sent letters and the tax returns were in the newspaper,” he said. “I can start confiscating property now.
“For example, if you have a landscaping company, I can take your lawnmowers, trailers, and anything I need with me,” he said.
Once the property is seized, the owner has a period of time to pay the late taxes and get their property back.
If the taxes are not paid, the sheriff can legally sell the confiscated items.
No one in the sheriff’s department had attempted to collect the taxes, according to Ellifritz, and the amount in arrears over the past five years is now up to $ 260,277.
“Nobody in the past 12 years has gone out and done this,” he said, adding that state law only allows it to go back five years.
“The state code says it is my duty to collect the taxes and I will collect them,” he says. “Whether I have to chain a few doors or confiscate a few appliances, we will collect those taxes,” he said.
The sheriff said it was easier to get individuals to pay their taxes as they would have to be paid to get their vehicle tags. However, companies do not have such a requirement and it is therefore easier for them to get away with.
Ellifritz said he plans to start on Tuesday the companies that owe the larger amounts and then work his way down the list.
Liz Beavers is Editor-in-Chief of the Mineral Daily News Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org