Arlington tax-delinquency rate hits low

Members of the "Taxbusters" compliance staff of the Arlington treasurer's office celebrate a new record-low tax-delinquency rate on Aug. 14, 2015. Treasurer Carla de la Pava is holding the sign. (Photo by Lisa Nisenson)

Arlington’s treasurer is optimistic that the county’s tax-delinquency rate could fall to another record low when it is reported later this summer.

“You might surmise that I have good news,” Treasurer Carla de la Pava said coyly in response to a question from the Sun Gazette.

The delinquency rate to beat is the 0.226 percent reported last year, representing the amount of real-estate and personal-property taxes unpaid out of the roughly $800 million that flows through the treasurer’s office each year.

The record low reported in 2017 was an improvement from the 0.243-percent delinquency rate reported a year before. In announcing the 2017 rate, de la Pava set a goal of 0.21 percent for 2018.

The treasurer’s office will report the official 2018 delinquency rate on Aug. 15; between now and then, staff in the office will be using both carrots and sticks to bring in past-due taxes.

Arlington residents are notoriously prompt payers, particularly when it comes to real-estate taxes. De la Pava on June 26 said that 99.07 percent of the $393.9 million due on June 15 had come in, leaving 1,414 accounts with an average balance of about $2,600 still outstanding.

But even that may be overstating the limited number of delinquencies.

“We are still applying some payments that were made on time,” de la Pava said. “We will mail out delinquency notices on July 2.”

The nearly $400 million received by June 15 represents real-estate-tax payments for the first half of the year. Second-half payments of real-estate taxes, plus personal-property-tax payments on vehicles, are due Oct. 5.

Most Virginia localities do not report their tax-delinquency rates, but Arlington officials believe theirs is the lowest in the commonwealth.

(1) comment


Not surprising. Owners of local businesses that aren't doing well increasingly decide to go out of business sooner rather than later.

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