Tax Assessor-Collector 2024-2028 Term
Wayne County Tax Assessor-Collector Debbie Richards
Address: Wayne County Courthouse, 609 Azalea Drive, Waynesboro, MS 39367
Tax Collector’s Office: 601-735-3381
Tax Assessor’s Office: 601-735-2588
Tax Assessor-Collector responsibilities
The joint offices of Wayne County Tax Assessor and Tax Collector are elected for a four-year term by the county at large.
The assessor must, by personal inspection and examination, gather and record all available data and information bearing upon the location, number, amount, kind and value of any and all property and persons which he or she is required by law to assess. The assessor must keep a list of all persons subject to assessment in his or her county.
Additionally, the assessor must note all removals from the county or from one precinct to another within the county and add the names of all persons subject to assessment moving into his or her county. This information is filed and systematically indexed and remains a permanent part of the record of the assessor’s office so that the records can be used by the board of supervisors and other officials of the county and state performing duties dealing with the assessment of property and the collection of taxes.
These records may be generated, filed, stored, retained, copied, or reproduced by microfilm, microfiche, data processing, computers, magnetic tape, optical discs or any other electronic process that correctly and legibly stores and reproduces or forms a medium for storing, copying or reproducing documents, files, and records in addition to, or in lieu of, the paper documents, files, and records.
Another duty of the assessor is to inquire into the purchase price paid for any property, real or personal, and to ascertain and acquaint himself or herself with any sales or transfers of property of similar description or value made or effected in the vicinity, within the year or years next preceding the listing for assessment then being made. The price paid for property should be considered by the assessor in determining the value of property listed for assessment.
The county tax assessor has the right, power and authority to require an inspection of a property owner’s books and accounts, papers, memoranda and records, and from this inspection make an estimate of the value of property.
The assessor may also question the owner, agent, or employees of the owner about the actual cash value of any property subject to assessment. The assessor has the right and power to inquire into and ascertain the insured value of all property, or into the value at which the property has been insured previously. This includes the amount of fire insurance carried on all stocks of merchandise or goods kept for use or sale, machinery, fixtures, and other property. If the assessor believes or has reason to believe that the list of taxable property furnished by any person is incomplete or incorrect, or if any property has been undervalued, they shall assess the same and add it to the assessment roll at its true value.
In counties that have not separated the offices of assessor and collector, the assessor collects all taxes, including, but not limited to, ad valorem and privilege taxes, charges, and fees of every kind and by the twentieth day of the month following collection, pay same to the collecting political subdivision without retaining any portion for his or her services.
Before entering office, the tax assessor-collector is required to take the oath of office and give bond payable in a penalty equal to 5 percent of the sum of all state and county taxes shown by the assessment rolls for the year immediately preceding the commencement of the term of office. However, the bond shall not exceed $100,000.
Properly trained assessors and/or tax collectors and their deputies are vital to maintain equal and fair taxation across the state. Code, § 27-3-52 requires that “counties having not more than five thousand applicants for homestead exemption shall have at least one certified appraiser, and counties having more than five thousand applicants for homestead exemption shall have at least two certified appraisers.” Code, § 27-1-51 also requires that “counties having not more than 15,000 parcels of real property shall have a minimum of two Collectors of Revenue I (CR 1), and counties having more than fifteen thousand shall have a minimum of three Collectors of Revenue I (CR 1).”