Letter to the Editor: Examine delinquent tax bills

My husband and I just recently received our property tax bill that included a delinquent portion. We were surprised because we have always paid early. We contacted Ashe County and was given the following explanation:, We purchased the property January 19, 1999. The taxes were prorated between buyer and seller and paid. By the end of 1999 the tax increased and the prior owner ( Property owner at January 1) was sent notice. We the current owners were never notified. The prior owner never paid the tax understandably so the tax has been accruing interest for 17 years until recently. Under the Machinery Act of NC It states in Section 105-365.1 (b) that delinquent taxes can be collected on as long as the current owner and subsequent owners are notified.

Ashe County has collected over a half million dollars since sending out these delinquent notices. They are garnishing wages and other measures in collecting these taxes. They have an attorney Chris McLaughlin leading the way and advising how to answer questions. They even say they are the only county in the state sending out these notices for delinquent taxes. This means that every other county in the state is accruing interest on bills that owners are not even aware of, which doesn’t seem right to the consumer. They just hold these debts out there without notice until the property changes hands and then the debt is settled and the interest is collected. I would like to have this practice brought to the public so that the law and be changed and consumers protected. Any suggestions that you have to further the cause would be greatly appreciated.


Brenda Hyatt-Neal



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