2012-08-24 / In the News

Town looks for ways to recoup missing tax

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

The Town Council decided at its Aug. 15 meeting to write off approximately $27,660 in unpaid personal property tax that went uncollected between 2006 and 2010.

Town Manager Tom Hall said town officials feel the unpaid taxes are uncollectible because “the businesses left or shuttered their doors.”

The outstanding bills range from $10.90 owned by Swinburne Auto Finish, formerly located at 142 Pleasant Ave., to $5,587 owned by Damon and Malone, formerly located at 20 Parkway Drive.

Hall mentioned the majority of the unpaid personal property tax during that time period—$86,475— is collectable.

There has already been some success in recouping the money, he told the Town Council. The total in unpaid personal property tax is now slightly more than $79,400.

“The balance, we believe, is collectable,” Hall told the council. “The businesses are in town, but I would point out many are in bankruptcy, but there are some payment plans set up.”

Hall said the town has been successful in collecting 97.7 percent of personal property taxes, but “have had a problem with a very few.”

The finance committee was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, Aug. 21 to discuss strategies on how to collect the unpaid balance of personal property tax.

One suggestion is to require businesses to get an annual license to operate. If the personal property taxes were not paid, the license would not be renewed.

Some councilors, however, felt that was unfair to businesses that were paying the tax on time.

Town Councilor Carol Rancourt said since the vast majority of such tax is collected, she didn’t want the finance committee to focus on the issue too much.

“Personal property tax is very difficult to assess and I am not sure I want the finance committee to spend a lot of time on an issue that is relatively small,” Rancourt said.

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