Tax Collector’s Office: Property fees have been paid by most

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 24, 2009

About two-thirds of Vicksburg and Warren County property owners who have owed personal property taxes in the past month have paid up, leaving fewer of them vulnerable to lockouts, according to the Tax Collector’s Office.

Supervisors had been talking about using a state law that empowers the sheriff’s department to seize delinquent properties if a court order is obtained. While so-called “jeopardy warrants” are ready to be issued by Oct. 1, the chance of the office following through on about 90 property owners appears to be diminishing.

“Most of them are small, family-owned businesses; therefore it may not lead to locking the doors,” Tax Collector Antonia Flaggs Jones said Wednesday.

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Personal property includes all items within a structure and not built onto the land, such as inventories kept by a business. Physical structures such as houses and businesses are real property.

The normal procedure to enforce property tax collections is to “sell” the property at auction for the amount owed. Owners can “redeem” the property by paying the back taxes to the county and interest to the auction buyer. People can lose deeds for not paying taxes, but it takes at least three years. In August, more than 270 businesses owed personal property taxws for 2006 through 2008 totaling $531,414.01.

The little-used state law involves making a statement to a court that seizure is necessary to avoid loss of the tax revenue. Any personal property seized can be sold at public auction following a notice of a tax lien filed with the circuit clerk and issue of the warrant.

About 1,600 commercial and residential properties parcels  received bids in the county tax sale Aug. 31.

Otherwise, tax bills for 2009 to arrive in December contain no increase in property tax rates, as those have been left alone by Vicksburg and Warren County governing bodies. Higher taxes remain possible due to higher land valuations, however.

For every $100,000 assessed on a home inside Vicksburg city limits, taxes due after homestead exemption should equal $926.10. Those outside the city should equal $589.80 on the same assessment. An extra 2 mills are levied inside the county’s six volunteer fire districts.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at