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Tax collectors in Arkansas upset with company's payments

By The Associated Press
This article was published February 9, 2018 at 11:54 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Tax collectors in Arkansas are trying to get years' worth of delinquent taxes owed to counties by a global mailing company.

They began exchanging advice last month on how to collect the nearly $43,000 total that Pitney Bowes owes in 18 counties. Seven other counties also reported delinquencies but didn't list amounts, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Many of the county offices that are owed money also lease mailing equipment from Pitney Bowes. The company is "pretty adamant" about being paid on time for their machines, said Paula Beard, tax collector for Union County.

Beard said that's why she was "really kind of shocked" when she found the company owes Union County nearly $10,300 in delinquent taxes stemming from the 2012 tax year.

"We're paying them, but they're not paying us," said Sheila Sinyard, delinquent tax investigator for Miller County.

County tax collectors in Arkansas open the tax books on March 1. Taxes are considered delinquent if unpaid after Oct. 15. The money goes to schools, roads, public works, jails and other local government operations.

Saline County collector Joy Ballard said she contacted local Pitney Bowes customers after seeing the company was "slow to pay" and asked some of them to complain on her behalf. Ballard began getting payments, though the company will still "just intentionally drag their feet, and I don't know why," she said.

The company released a statement saying it takes its "responsibility as a taxpaying business in the state very seriously."

Pitney Bowes has assured that payments will be made within the next week and a half, said Josh Curtis, governmental affairs director of the Association of Arkansas Counties. Curtis said he received emails from some tax collectors Wednesday saying the company reached out about the delinquencies.

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