Alabaster OKs liens to recoup delinquent sales taxes
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – The city will now be able to place liens on properties belonging to businesses with delinquent sales and use taxes to recoup the unpaid taxes, after the City Council voted to change the Alabaster tax code during a Feb. 12 meeting.
Council members voted in favor of the matter unanimously during the meeting after holding a public hearing on the proposed tax code changes. Nobody spoke for or against the changes during the public hearing.
The tax code changes give the city a more direct avenue to collect unpaid sales and use taxes than it had previously.
Previously, if a business had delinquent unpaid city sales and use taxes, the city sought to recoup the back taxes through the judicial process.
As a result of the changes, the will now be able to instead attach the amount of any unpaid municipal sales and use taxes owed by the business’s as a lien on the business’s property. Once a lien is attached to a property, it must be repaid before the property can be sold in the future.
Alabaster Chief Financial Officer John Haggard said the city previously had the ability to issue liens to recoup unpaid sales and use taxes, but said the city recently obtained an opinion from the Alabama attorney general confirming the matter.
Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow said the state Revenue Department also uses liens to recoup unpaid sales taxes from businesses, and said the city will follow a similar process.
Through the tax code changes, if a business in the city is found to owe delinquent taxes, the city will send the business a delinquent tax notice, which will have the option to appeal the matter or pay the delinquent amount.
Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon said the city is willing to work with businesses to work out payment plans for delinquent back sales taxes, and said issuing a lien will be a last resort to recoup taxes.
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