POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 5:44pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 10:08pm
It’s that time of year again. You will soon be getting your property tax statements.
But how many people are actually paying, and how many are behind?
There has been a bit of news lately about how much the taxpayers of Smith County are behind in property taxes.
Some have said that TISD, for instance, is losing millions this year.
Those figures…are wrong.
Gary Barber is the Tax Collector Assessor for Smith County, and his office takes in the revenue for all the towns and school districts, and colleges and other entities in the county.
So how are we doing this year?
“Well, for this year, just on regular tax levy, we’re sitting right at 98% collected,” Barber told KETK, “which is a very high collection rate.”
But one recent report said that TISD was missing out on over 4-million dollars this year in delinquent taxes.
Well, that is misleading.
“Tyler Independent School District, we have 4.6-million dollars worth of delinquent taxes,” he conceded, “and this is everything that’s delinquent on the tax rolls, current year and all the prior years, so that’s not a lot.”
Did you catch that? It is $4-million for all previous years going back to…1900. That’s right, the cumulative total of unpaid property taxes for TISD is $4.6-million for 110 years.
And some delinquencies aren’t really delinquent.
“When you’re over 65 you can defer your taxes,” Barber says. “Well that shows up as a delinquency because you’re not paying, yet it’s really not a delinquency until they die.”
The alarmist stories are particularly harmful given the tight budgets for districts this year.
But the reality is, things from the collection standpoint, are actually pretty good.