THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY TREASURER
The County Treasurer also serves as ex officio Public Administrator and ex officio Tax Collector (§31-2001, I.C.). The County Treasurer is elected every four (4) years (§34-620) unless an optional form of county government is adopted pursuant to Title 31, Chapters 52 through 58, I.C.. The county treasurer is separately bonded for each separate responsibility of the office (§31-2015). Such bond is furnished by the county. The salary for the officer is set by the board of county commissioners. The county treasurer is authorized to appoint as many deputies as may be necessary to discharge the duties of the office within budgetary limits approved by the county commissioners (§31-2003 and §31–1605).
Duties of The County Treasurer
The responsibility of the county treasurer for the safekeeping of public moneys is governed by the Public Depository Law found in Title 57, Chapter 1, Idaho Code . Included in these sections is specific reference for the tax collector and public administrator. Chapter 1 covers the designation of public depositories and the reporting responsibilities of designated depositories. Under the Public depository Law and other miscellaneous sections of Idaho Code , the inference is that the safekeeping of public moneys is the primary responsibility of the county treasurer, while section §57-127 empowers and authorizes the county treasurer to invest surplus or idle funds. Title 57 Chapter 1 is explicit regarding the duties and liabilities of county treasurers, boards of county commissioners and public depositories.
The county treasurer must deposit all moneys coming into the county into the treasury and disburse the same. The county treasurer must record and report all such receipts and disbursements according to law. All monies going into the county treasury shall be documented by a certificate of the auditor (§31-2103).
Disbursements of moneys must be made only on warrants issued by the auditor under orders of the board of county commissioners, or as otherwise provided by law (§31-2102). A warrant may be processed as a cash item, check or non-cash item.
If there is money in the funds to cover the warrants, the county treasurer honors the warrants in one of two methods, depending upon the warrant type as determined by the board of county commissioners, after consultation with the county auditor and county treasurer (§31-1510).
Warrants payable on demand: They are jointly issued and signed by the county auditor and county treasurer (§31-1511). These warrants become cash items and are treated as any check within the federal reserve system and on the county treasurer’s books.
Warrants not payable on Demand: These are issued by the county auditor and redeemed by the county treasurer (§31-1511). Redemption is usually made collectively by check to the designated public depository, although a single individual may ask that a warrant be redeemed in the treasurer’s office.
The county treasurer needs to make arrangements with the public depository in setting up accounts depending upon which of these two methods are used to honor the warrants.
If there is no money in the funds to cover the warrant, it must be registered (§31-1511) and must be identified, logged by the county auditor and county treasurer and paid in the order of its presentation (§31-1510). Registered warrants are most frequently used as a method of borrowing funds for the operation of county government and require the coordinated actions of the board of county commissioners, county auditor and county treasurer, in advance, working with the financial institution involved.
The county treasurer shall make a monthly settlement with the county auditor on the first Monday of each month showing all receipts, disbursements and care of the public revenue, together with the remaining balance. At this time the county treasurer sends the redeemed warrants to the county auditor (§31-2112).
The County treasurer must make a detailed report at every regular meeting of the board of county commissioners showing all receipts and disbursements and all debts due to and from the county (§31-2113).
The county treasurer and county auditor shall make a joint statement to the board of county commissioners on the second Mondays of January, April, July and October showing a detailed financial condition of the county and cause a summary of the same to be published in a newspaper in the county (§31-2306).
The county treasurer must make a full settlement of all accounts with the county auditor in the presence of the county commissioners on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of October (§31-2112).
The books, accounts and vouchers of the county treasurer are subject to inspection and examination by the board of county commissioners and grand jury (§31-2122). The county treasurer must permit the county commissioners and the auditor to examine his/her books and count the money in the treasury wherever they wish to make an examination or counting (§31-2123). In addition, all documents are public records available for inspection or copying upon demand.
The county treasurer must retain custody of all moneys of the county and state until disbursed according to law (§31-2112).
In case of the death of any county treasurer, all official moneys, books, accounts, papers and documents shall be delivered to the treasurer’s successor by the board of county commissioners (31-2121).
DUTIES AS EX-OFFICIO TAX COLLECTOR
The county treasurer/tax collector is responsible for the collection of taxes on real and personal property, taxes on harvested timber and the collection of special assessments for water districts, fire protection districts, local improvement districts, translator diststricts and other entities as approved by the legislature and the commissioners.
The county tax collector is also responsible for the safekeeping and accounting for all revenue coming into the office in payment of taxes of special assessments and accounting for all uncollected taxes or assessments.
The county tax collector interacts extensively with mortgage service agencies, tax service agencies, individual taxpayers, the county assessor’s office, the county clerk’s office, the county sheriff’s office and, occasionally, the prosecuting attorney in order to administer the responsibilities of the office. The tax collector also interacts with the board of county commissioners in their roles as commissioners and the board of equalization.
The tax collector must be separately bonded with the bond to be fixed by the board of county commissioners under the provisions found in §31-2015(7), Idaho Code.
While the responsibility for extending the taxes on the property rolls is that of the county auditor, the involvement of county treasurers in this process varies from county to county. This procedure has evolved as technology allows more efficient use of equipment, budget and time.
The county auditor must cause to be computed the amount of property taxes levied on the total taxable value on the property rolls and deliver the same to the tax collector at various times (§63-812). The tax collector shall collect and account for the amount of property taxes due and remit any property tax revenues to the county auditor showing distribution to the proper accounts or funds (§63-812).
The county tax collector must mail a tax notice to every taxpayer or his agent or representative. The content of the notice is approved by the state tax commission in accordance with § 63-219, Idaho Code, and the deadlines for mailing the notices are contained in §63-902. The information required on the notice, including the different payment options, and the length of time receipts for payment of taxes must be retained is also found in §63-902.
Property taxes are due and payable in full on December 20 of each year. With specific exceptions, a grace period allows the payment of taxes in half without incurring delinquency charges if the deadlines for each half payment are met (§63-903). By law, any portion of a property tax may be paid at any time, although the application of costs, interest or charges still apply. The deadlines for payment of current taxes on the property, operating property, subsequent and missed property rolls are also located in §63-903. Included in this section is the assessment of late charges and interest.
Special provisions are made for the collection of taxes on personal property and transient personal property (63-904). This covers the consequences of delinquency, taxes made on demand, issuance of warrants of distraint and the allowance of extensions or barring of extensions for payment.
The tax collector may establish interim payment accounts for those taxpayers who make application. The payments made are accumulated toward the payment of current or future property taxes. The moneys in these individual accounts shall be posted to the roll when the property taxes are due. The county shall pay no interest on these receipts and the amount cannot be withdrawn by the depositor (§63-906).
The Washington County Treasurer accepts monthly tax payments. For those taxpayers who prefer to pay their taxes on line, you may do so by following the following link:Washington County Treasurer All property taxes must be paid in lawful money of the United States (§63-901), or may be paid by credit card.
The tax collector must make a tax deed to the county for such real estate property on which the taxes have not been paid within three (3) years of the date of delinquency. The making of such tax deed involves due process of law and requires extensive technical application of the law on the part of the tax collector. Explicit under the law is the notification of the taxpayer, affidavits of compliance, time constraints, publication requirements and hearings before the board of county commissioners (§63-1005: §63-1006).
After a tax deed has been issued, real property may be redeemed only by the record owner(s) or party in interest, up to the time the commissioners have entered into a contract of sale, or the property has been transferred by tax deed (§63-1007). The process for redemption is explained in §3-1007.
The collection of delinquent taxes on personal property and the issuance of warrants of distraint to the county sheriff for collection are the responsibility of the tax collector (§63-1012 :§63-1013).
Upon the redemption from a tax sale of any property in any delinquency entry, the amount paid from such redemption shall be deposited into the county treasury by the tax collector and apportioned among county funds and taxing districts as provided for the apportionment of property taxes (§63-1015).
The tax collector settles monthly with the county auditor and transmits revenue collected in payment of taxes and accounts to the auditor for uncollected taxes. The settlement includes a detailed statement of moneys collected for each taxing district or authority (§63-1201).
All proceedings of the county commissioners in the cancellation or refund of property taxes, or refund of payments, shall be recorded in the official minutes. All such refund of property taxes or payments must be paid upon warrants drawn on the county current expense fund by the county auditor or upon checks issued by the county tax collector (§63-1302). All such refunds shall be apportioned to the various funds or taxing districts.
When the board of county commissioners makes adjustments correcting errors, or other property tax adjustments within their authority, the clerk of the board shall prepare and deliver to the tax collector, a copy of the proceedings of the county commissioners. The tax collector shall make the necessary corrections §63-1303.
The board of county commissioners may, by resolution, authorize the tax collector to make adjustments of late charges, interest and fees, not to exceed the designated limit as set by the board, in order to facilitate the collection of property taxes (§63-1304).
DUTIES AS EX-OFFICIO PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR
The treasurer receives from the coroner any funds and property found on dead bodies (§31-2117). The funds or property may be claimed by the legal representatives of the deceased, or retained by the treasurer as ex officio public administrator (§14-101). If the property is not claimed within thirty (30) days after receipt, the county treasurer, as public administrator, must sell the property at public auction and place the receipts of the sale, plus any funds found on the body, in the county treasury (§31-2117). The ultimate disposition of these funds is covered by Sections §31-2118, 15-2-105, and §15-3-914 of the Idaho Code. The funds, if not paid, to the heirs of the deceased, become unclaimed property and are paid to the state tax commission (§15-3-914).
Every public administrator must make an official determination of the absence of an heir or will, and take charge of the estates of the following groups of people who, upon their death, reside within this county (§14-102).
- 1. The estates of decedents for whom no personal representatives are appointed.
- 2. The estates of decedents with no known heirs.
- 3. Estates ordered into his/her hands by the court and estates to which the State of
Idaho is an heir.
The public administrator must be notified within forty-eight (48) hours of knowledge of a death of a stranger or person without known heirs (§14-104).
The public administrator must make and return a perfect inventory of all estates taken in to possession (§14-105). When the inventory shows that the estate amounts to less than $1,000.00, no notice to creditors or other formal proceeding is required. The public administrator in this case, first pays the funeral expenses, the expenses of the last sickness, administration and other such expenses as deemed appropriate by the administrator.
After a final accounting of the affairs of any estate, the public administrator must send the remaining funds to the state tax commission if there are no heirs or claimants (§14-113). The public administrator must make a report to the judge each six months on all estates which have come into his/her hands (§14-112).