May 31 deadline looming for personal property assessment
May 31 is the last day for Arkansans to assess cars, boats and other personal property without receiving a late penalty.
Janice Usrey, the chief deputy of real estate at the Carroll County Assessor's Office, said that Carroll County residents will be charged a 10 percent penalty if they do not assess their property by the deadline. The property is assessed at market value, she said, and 20 percent of that value becomes the taxable portion.
"The penalty is 10 percent of your taxable portion," Usrey said. "For some people, especially businesses, that can be quite a bit."
She said that for items of higher value the 10 percent penalty can be significant.
"Some of these new vehicles that are $40,000 or $50,000 could be really bad with that penalty," Usrey said.
She said that many people forget to assess their personal property until right before the deadline, causing lines and long waiting periods at the assessor's office.
"They may have to wait in line for quite a while if they don't take care of it soon. It's not as bad now that we're on computers, but in the past we've seen people lined up out the door," Usrey said.
The process for assessing property is simple, she said. If people have assessed items at the office in the past, Usrey said, they can now do it online, by phone or in person. If a person has just moved here, they will have to do it in person, she said.
"I believe that is state law," Usrey said.
To assess personal property, she said, the office simply pulls up the owner's name and verifies the ownership of the item and the owner's address.
"It's not a super hard thing to do. We don't bite or anything," Usrey said.
The assessment process has gotten easier over the years, she said. For vehicles, for example, people can bring the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and the office will submit it to the state. The state can then pull up the VIN, Usrey said, and see that the vehicle has been assessed.
In previous years, owners had to bring the purchasing paperwork with them to assess vehicles, she said. Now, Usrey said, that is required only for newly purchased vehicles.
She added that Carroll County residents need to make sure they have paid off any delinquent taxes before renewing their car tags.
"You can't get new vehicle tags if you have delinquent taxes," Usrey said. "They're still clearing for 2014 taxes because 2015 is not considered delinquent until after Oct. 15. People need to be sure to take care of that before then."
To assess personal property, Carroll County residents can visit the Carroll County Assessor's Office at 108 Spring Street in Berryville. Assessment forms can be found at co.carroll.ar.us/countyassessor/.
A press release from the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) says that Arkansas can also use Gov2Go to take care of their assessment and get reminders for other important government deadlines throughout the year. Gov2Go is an award-winning "digital government assistant," the release says, that tracks Arkansans' assessment, property tax, vehicle registration renewal and franchise tax deadlines.
When a due date is approaching, Gov2Go sends personalized reminders and lets users take care of it all in one place on their favorite devices, the release says. The app is free and available for iPhone and Android smartphones, Apple Watch and on the web at www.getgov2go.com.