Commissioner warns of tax sales: Some 300 businesses in delinquency face personal property auctions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Property Tax Comm-issioner Don Armstrong said he plans to auction off items from Shelby County businesses that haven&8217;t paid their taxes. The tax sales, held at each individual business, could begin as early as the next couple of weeks.

Around 300 county businesses have failed to pay property taxes, which were considered delinquent Jan. 1, Armstrong said.

The tax commissioner&8217;s office mailed notices in October and January, sent letters by certified mail in March and have used phone calls and personal visits to warn business owners of their delinquent status.

&8220;It&8217;s not fair to the people who pay their taxes not to enforce this,&8221; Armstrong said.

Unresponsive businesses will have signs placed in their storefront windows notifying the public of any tax sale, Armstrong said. Any &8220;moveable&8221; items inside the business will likely be tagged for auction.

Business owners who attempt to remove the tax sale signs will be subject to arrest, Armstrong said.

Items will be sold to the highest bidder until enough money is collected to pay the delinquent taxes.

The auctions will differ from tax sales for real property, Armstrong said, because winning bidders will be outright owners of the personal property purchased. &8220;When it&8217;s sold, it&8217;s sold,&8221; Armstrong said.

Even if they get a visit from Armstrong, it still may not be too late for businesses to avoid a property tax sale at their location.

&8220;All we&8217;re interested in is collecting their taxes,&8221; he said. &8220;If we show up and they want to pay, of course we&8217;ll take the check and come on back.&8221;