Five businesses seized for back taxes

Published 5:53 pm Friday, May 29, 2015

Special to The Leader

Five personal property tax warrants were served on businesses in the Orange and Vidor area on Wednesday and Thursday.  The law firm hired to collect delinquent property taxes in Orange County in coordination with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department served the warrants after the businesses refused to pay back taxes totaling some $30,000.
The businesses in question were: Star Stop #4 ($7,473); Country Corner and Country Corner Liquor ($6,309); Shell Food Mart ($7,138); Vidor Shipley Donuts ($4,553) and Vidor Step N Go ($5,126).
Each of the businesses had been contacted prior to the tax warrants and encouraged to pay the outstanding property tax liability.
“We contacted a number of delinquent business owners throughout the County.  Some paid and some didn’t,”  Steve Bird, a partner with the Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson law firm who organized the warrants on behalf of the taxing jurisdictions, said. “Those that didn’t pay we followed up with the warrants.  We will be making our way around to all of those that didn’t pay.  This was only our first round of warrants.”
According to Lynda Gunstream most local businesses pay their tax obligation timely.
“Anywhere from 97 to 98 percent of local business owners pay their taxes on time,” Gunstream said. “We have a duty to expect everyone to carry their share of the tax burden. We try to do everything possible to work with local taxpayers but sometimes we just don’t have any other choice but to use these warrants.”
Revenue generated from these tax payments goes to support local schools, police and fire protection as well as other important local government functions.
“The tax warrant process is a procedure that allows the Sheriff’s Department to take possession of the personal property and if the taxes are not paid the property can be sold to recover those costs,” Bird said.
If payment of the tax obligation is not made an auction will take place to recover the lost tax revenue as well as all costs that are a result of the seizure process.  Additional warrants are scheduled to be served in the next week or two and those who might have an outstanding tax obligation are encouraged to come in to the tax office and take care of it.