DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - If you haven't paid your Mississippi state taxes, you'll soon be hearing from the state.
Almost $400 million is owed by more than 150,000 residents. This year, the state's driving a hard bargain.
The Department of Revenue has been sending bills since late October. Those who don't pay will be getting more than mail.
"I'm really surprised they haven't gone after them before this, if they let it get up to that much money," says Marcia Coates. "I did not know that that much money was still owed. Wow, that's mind blowing. "
"I always thought they'd come get you and put you in jail," laughs Velma Harris.
In the past the state blamed a shortage of money and resources for why delinquent bill payers weren't prosecuted.
"Well I think the people should pay their taxes and they should go after those who don't," Coates says.
This year, the state is allocating five million dollars to collect what's owed. The Department of Revenue has hired more people and added new technology.
"$400 million, if they get even half of that would be worth it," Coates tells abc24.com.
Notices are being sent to just under 155,000 Mississippians. The revenue department will keep sending monthly bills until all taxes are paid.
If they aren't, agents plan to garnish wages, file liens or halt future refunds.
"We don't particularly care for how the government spends (our tax money), but we still pay it," Coates says. "We wish they'd spend it much better than they do though."
The governor says he will include money in next years budget to keep collecting past due taxes. The state also made a point of saying debts don't go away after a person has died.