Haywood tax collections up

Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews told the Haywood County Board of County Commissioners Aug. 7 that preliminary tax collection rates for the 2016-17 fiscal year show one of the highest collection percentages ever.

“These numbers aren't finalized until the settlement is done, but are pretty close and gives you an idea of the last eight years,” Matthews said.

Per Matthews, Haywood County collected 97.15 percent of tax collections — nearly $37.8 million, up from 96.97 percent in the previous year, and 97.23 percent the year before.

“The past three years, we have been 97 percent-plus, which hasn't happened before as far back as I can see,” he said.

Matthews credits the uptick to research he said he conducted into other counties with higher collection rates; other counties, like Transylvania, take payments from taxpayers and apply them to the newest debts first, boosting current-year collection rates.

Haywood, on the other hand, applies payments to the oldest bills first, which hurts current year collection rates but saves taxpayers interest and penalties.

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