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Lawrence Co To Intercept Tax Refunds To Combat Property Tax Debt

Lawrence County plans to implement a new state tax refund interception program for those with property tax debt.

The plan is the result of a state Senate bill passed earlier this year, which grants the authority to withhold Indiana income tax refunds from property owners who owe at least $25.

The program is a collaboration with the Association of Indiana Counties, the Indiana Department of Revenue and various county treasurers across Indiana.

Lawrence County Treasurer Paula Stewart says her county is one of nearly a dozen that are ready to start the program.

“We’re ready to start doing the intercept process that’ll involve sending letters first to tax payers to notify them that they are delinquent and that they might be eligible for this process.”

Stewart says there are several steps following the initial notification before money is withheld from delinquent owners. David Bottorff is Executive Director of the Association of Indiana Counties. He says he thinks this measure will get owners to pay before any interception is necessary, helping the county collect revenue more effectively.

“I really think that it’s a very efficient way, using what I call big data, to help the counties be efficient and collect the back taxes and other revenue that’s owed to them.”

A program summary on the Association of Indiana Counties website says participating counties incur little, if any, additional collection. The debtor is charged the local collection assistance fee supporting program operations.

Bottorff says although the effort is new to Indiana counties, the Indiana Department of Revenue has used tax interceptions for state agencies for over a decade. He says the new effort will serve as an efficient reminder for property owners to keep up with payments.

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