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How do state and local property taxes work?



Little Rock, Arkansas – Paying your personal property tax is an Arkansas legislation that seems to have existed since the advent of the postal service.

The legislation, which dates back to the 19th century, is one that Bentley Hovis, the chief deputy treasurer for Pulaski County, is very familiar with.

“The simple answer is we are required by the state’s constitution,” Hovis said. “That document goes back to 1874, so in Arkansas, we do our taxes a little different than other states.”

Since the 1870s, when wagons and buggies were the only types of property subject to taxation, there have undoubtedly been changes in what items are taxed.

“Today the legislature has determined it’s your cars, it’s your boat trailers, your boats, your ATVs,” Hovis said.

Although the history of the personal property tax is fascinating, one of the most often inquiries we get is, “Where does this money go?”

“About 64-65% of it goes to public schools. Another 19% of it will go to the cities. Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, [etc.] Finally, the county’s part of that is about 10-11%,” he said.

Now, these figures can change based on your county of residence and your school district’s millage rate.

“We follow the law. We don’t make up the tax amounts. We go on what the voters approved for us to tax,” Hovis said.

A gentle reminder is given once more to pay your personal property tax by October 17th this year to avoid incurring a late payment penalty.

“Paying your taxes does matter. Like I said, it funds our schools, our cities, our jails, I could go on and on,” he said.