Newport News, Va., – The Newport News Treasurer's Office and Sheriff's Department have partnered to use license plate scanners to help identify taxpayers who owe more than $200 in delinquent personal property taxes.
Over $3.9 million in delinquent personal property tax accounts will initially targeted in the collection effort.
The license plate scanners are mounted on the back of Sheriff’s deputies’ cruisers and automatically read license plate numbers. If a match is found in the database of delinquent tax accounts, an alarm alerts the deputy who then contacts the treasurer’s office.
The treasurer's office will verify the status and amount of the past due account and then authorize the deputy to seize the vehicle until the taxes are paid in full. If the debt is not paid within 30 days, the vehicle will be sold at public auction.
Treasurer Marty Eubank said, “It is only fair to all the taxpayers who pay on time to enforce the collection of taxes on those individuals who do not. These taxpayers have already been sent several notices and have been informed that legal and/or collection action will be enforced. They are individuals getting around other enforcement tools including DMV Stops and wage liens. This new technology allows us to ramp up collection efforts and I am pleased Sheriff Morgan has been so willing to aid in this endeavor.”
Sheriff Gabe Morgan said, "This collaboration demonstrates the commitment of both the sheriff and the treasurer to be more efficient and aggressive in the collection of past due taxes. No one should expect to use the services provided by the city without an expectation of paying their required share of those services."
The partnership between the treasurer and sheriff eliminates the third party collection agency fees charged by other cities under a similar program to seize vehicles.
The taxpayer will only be required to pay the tax debt, a $30.00 administrative fee, and a $51.55 towing fee if the debt is not paid in three business days. There are no finder’s fees, boot fees, or impound and daily storage fees.
The program will begin on April 1st. Taxpayers are encouraged to remit any unpaid taxes promptly or enter into a payment contract with the treasurer’s office to avoid having their vehicle seized. The treasurer’s office can be reached at (757) 926-8731 or firstname.lastname@example.org.