Former Guilford County Tax Director Francis Kinlaw used to get upset whenever the Rhino Times wrote that he was the “nicest person in county government” because he wanted people to believe that the tax director was very mean so that citizens would be more likely to pay their taxes.
While current tax officials may also want to maintain a stern “no love” image, a move expected this month by Guilford County government will mean that the department would start cutting a break to those who owe less than $5 in property taxes.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is considering – and is expected to approve – a resolution authorizing the Guilford County Tax Department to not bill or collect any ad valorem taxes [those based on assessed value] when the original principal amount due is $5.00 or less. In the past, the county has attempted to collect every dime it’s owed, however, the NC General Assembly has authorized that counties and other taxing units in the state can direct a tax collector not to collect “minimal taxes” that are on the tax books.
(Sorry, this small kindness doesn’t apply to taxes on registered motor vehicles.)
A resolution set for adoption by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners at their Thursday, July 16 meeting states, “Whereas, minimal taxes are the combined taxes and fees of the taxing unit and any other units for which it collects taxes, due on a tax receipt in a total original principal amount that does not exceed an amount, up to $5.00, set by the governing body; and …Whereas, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has determined that the estimated cost to Guilford County of billing a taxpayer for the amounts due on a tax receipt or tax notice is $5.00; now, therefore … BE IT RESOLVED by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners that the Guilford County Tax Collector is directed not to collect the combined taxes and fees of Guilford County and any other unit of government for which it collects taxes, dues on a tax receipt prepared pursuant to [NC state law] when the total original principal amount is $5.00 or less.”
If the county adopts the new resolution as expected, the Tax Department will be instructed to keep a record of all the instances of minimal taxes that go uncollected and present that information and the total amount periodically to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.