BLOUNTVILLE - If you own property in Sullivan County and haven't paid the 2005 county property taxes on it, you've got a couple of days to avoid being taken to court.
On Monday, those left on the 2005 delinquent taxes roll will be turned over to Sullivan County Chancery Court, resulting in a higher penalty (21 percent), court costs and potential attorney's fees.
There are about 88,000 parcels of land in Sullivan County, and most owners pay their taxes on time each year, Sullivan County Trustee Frances Harrell says.
But there are the exceptions.
For 2005 taxes, about 3,000 parcels were as yet unpaid Wednesday, Harrell said.
The taxes had an original due date of Feb. 28, 2006.
For the tax cycle in question, Harrell said her office has mailed notices six times in the past year.
Time is running out to catch up on those tax payments without going to court, Harrell said.
Currently, there is a 19.5 percent penalty on those unpaid taxes. That will increase to 21 percent when Harrell turns the outstanding parcels over to chancery court.
Harrell said delinquent 2005 taxpayers may make payment through Friday at any of her three offices - in the historic Sullivan County Courthouse in Blountville, in Kingsport City Hall, and in the Bristol Justice Center.
Mailed payments that carry a postmark no later than Saturday will also be processed, Harrell said.
Property on which taxes remain delinquent is ultimately auctioned by the county.
Not receiving a notice is not an accepted excuse for late payment of your property taxes, Harrell said.
"If you own property, the state of Tennessee says you know there are taxes," Harrell said.
According to information from the county's accounts and budgets office, for the 2005 tax year:
â€¢Property countywide was assessed at more than $2.82 billion.
â€¢Types of property assessed, and their corresponding share of the total assessment were: residential, 51.66 percent; business, 26.55 percent; personal property, 17.52 percent; and state public utilities, 4.27 percent.
â€¢Geographically, the split was: Kingsport, 43 percent; non-city portions of the county, 38 percent; Bristol, 18 percent; and Bluff City, 1 percent.