- Wednesday, February 12, 2020
The latest audit report for the Wilcox County Tax Collector’s office was filed by the Alabama Department of Examiners Public Accounts on February 8, 2019. The report showed a failure of Wilcox County Tax Collector Janice Johns to deposit money collected on a daily basis, inconsistency in applying the applicable laws to delinquent taxpayers, the continued negligence to reconcile bank accounts, and failure to have an accurate analysis of balances on hand.
Most notably, the report showed how certain taxpayers–including Johns herself–and certain other elected officials and their relatives were omitted from the delinquent taxpayer list submitted to and published by the newspaper.
The report states, “There were a total of forty-six (46) delinquent accounts which were not advertised appropriately or included in the list to be sold. All the delinquent accounts were paid on or subsequent to their respective tax sale dates. However, the Office of Tax Collector did not always charge and collect appropriate fees, costs, and interest on delinquent accounts, including the delinquent personal accounts of Tax Collector, certain other elected officials and their relatives.” As a result, the appropriate fees, costs and interest were not charged and collected, property with delinquent tax accounts was not sold as required by law, and certain individuals benefited from an extended period of time allowed to them for payment of their property taxes.
- The Tax Collector did not perform monthly bank reconciliations for the Property and Motor Vehicle bank accounts after January 2016; therefore, no analysis was provided for the balances on hand.
- A review of the bank accounts revealed returned checks which had not been included in the list of checks returned for nonsufficient funds, as well as errors in collections made for checks returned.
- The Office of Tax Collector did not have policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with the Minimum Accounting Requirements for the Office of Tax Officials, as prescribed by the Chief Examiner of Public Accounts.
- As a result, the Tax Collector could not identify all amounts on hand in the Property and Motor Vehicle bank accounts.
- Deposits were not always made on a daily basis. During the examination period, there were delays of as much as a month between the collection and receipt of money and the subsequent deposit of the money into the official bank account.
- The report states, “we noted two receipts totaling $779.35 which could not be traced to a deposit in the official bank account.” As a result, money collected was not properly safeguarded by being deposited timely and intact into the official bank account.
These findings pertained to a time period between July 16, 2015 through July 6, 2018 for Regular Collections, and June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2018 for Motor Vehicle Ad Valorem Tax Collections, Manufactured Home Registrations and other Collections.