Bird scooters pay $149K tax bill before Travis County claims fleet

Bird scooters, which has operated in Austin since 2018 and is the city's second largest, scooter-share company, owed Travis County $149,000 before paying its tax bill on Wednesday.

Bird scooters, which has operated in Austin since 2018 and is the city’s second largest, scooter-share company, owed Travis County $149,000 before paying its tax bill on Wednesday.

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Bird scooters almost became property of Travis County following an unpaid tax bill for the California-based company dating back to January 2021. However, on Tuesday, June 7, the company, which rents those scooters strewn about Austin streets, ponied up and paid $149,00 after Travis County threatened to sell its scooters to pay the bill.

On May 18, the Travis County Tax Office named Bird to its top 10 list of delinquent taxpayers. As of Tuesday, it is the only company on the list that has paid its bill in full. The bill, seventh highest on the list, was $147,195.17, but was raised to $149,000 after penalties and interest kicked in.

Commercial property owners, Bird included, received the bills in November 2021. According to the Travis County Tax Office, just 1% of revenue remains unpaid, although that means that $67 million is still owed.

Earlier on Tuesday, KUT reported that Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant said that the company hadn’t been returning phone calls regarding the delinquent tax bill. Before Bird paid its bill, the county was preparing a lawsuit that included seizing the company’s fleet of scooters.

Bird arrived in Austin in 2018 after launching in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and other cities. It’s the second-largest scooter company in Austin, with a fleet of up to 3,250 scooters in the city. Lime is the largest with 5,850 scooters that can be booked on the Uber app.

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