JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Not a fan of paying taxes? You’re not alone. It turns out more than 35,000 people owe a combined total of $58 million in unpaid taxes to the city of Jacksonville.
The average unpaid bill is about $1,500. But outstanding taxes cover a wide range, from $272,000 owed by a property management firm to about $24 owed on a sliver of land.
So what do these tardy taxpayers have in common? They all stand to lose their property in two years if they don’t pay up.
"They have until May 25 to make the payment, or else their property taxes will go to that tax certificate," said Sherry Hall, chief deputy tax collector.
A tax certificate is a lien of sorts that marks the first step in the process that could lead to someone losing their property, according to the Duval County Tax Collector’s Office.
Hall said they property owners have two years from the sale of the certificate to pay what is owed.
News4Jax reporter Jim Piggott drove around town Friday in the hopes of speaking with property owners who are behind on their tax bills. Finding them was easier said than done.
Take, for example, a home near Goodby’s Creek on the city’s Southside. The Tax Collector’s Office said the owners owe $2,315. Attempts to reach the owner were unsuccessful.
That was the case too with a small piece of vacant land where the owner owes $84. It doesn’t sound like much to owe, but if ignored, the owner could lose their property.
Neighbors said the number of people who owe taxes is troubling. They told News4Jax they pay their taxes and believe everyone else should pay theirs as well.
"I think everybody needs to come together, work and get these taxes paid, especially something as inexpensive as $84," said a neighbor who goes by the name of Sun Serious.
The story was the same for Superior Roofing, the company at the center of an I-TEAM report on work that was paid for but never completed. The company owes over $1,500 in property taxes.
Tax certificates go up for sale May 25. So for those who have fallen behind on their taxes, time is of the essence.