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Property Tax Piracy
Old 12-10-2007, 07:09 PM   #1
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Property Tax Piracy

For some as yet unknown reason the county sent my school and property tax bills to an invalid address and I never received those bills for this year, 2007. Today I realized that these bills were overdue and I contacted the tax collector. She acknowledged that the bills were improperly addressed and that they were never delivered to me. She insists however that not only am I ineligible for the early payment discount but that I must pay a 10% penalty. Iím preparing a protest. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Can anyone provide any constructive advice? The total difference between the discounted and penalty tax is under $500.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:21 PM   #2
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I'd go to the tax collector's office and I'd stay there until they rectified the mistake .Sometimes making a nuisance of yourself is what's needed.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:30 PM   #3
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I'd certainly file a protest if it were me. In my neighborhood, a 10% penalty would be several hundred bux....

On the other hand...... My RE taxes are a big part of my annual budget and carefully planned for. How did you not notice not getting the bill until now? Maybe a little tickler file or something like that is in order?
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:08 PM   #4
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May be a local thing. Here, property taxes are always due on the same day statewide and every property bill comes with legalese on it reminding property owners that they are responsible for paying taxes in full by the due date. Whether there is a third party escrow service or a failure of the mail to deliver the bill or any other issue doesn't affect the owner's obligation to pay the tax due on the due date, even if they have to go to the assessors office to get details of what is owed. I suppose it can't hurt to protest, but not sure if you can claim they have an obligation to remind you.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:49 AM   #5
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May be a local thing. Here, property taxes are always due on the same day statewide and every property bill comes with legalese on it reminding property owners that they are responsible for paying taxes in full by the due date. Whether there is a third party escrow service or a failure of the mail to deliver the bill or any other issue doesn't affect the owner's obligation to pay the tax due on the due date, even if they have to go to the assessors office to get details of what is owed. I suppose it can't hurt to protest, but not sure if you can claim they have an obligation to remind you.
I fear that is what I will learn at the assessors office.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:38 PM   #6
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I'd go to the tax collector's office and I'd stay there until they rectified the mistake .Sometimes making a nuisance of yourself is what's needed.
Ok... So it turns out that the tax collector doesn't do anything except collect tax. Not able or really willing to help. Through the implementation of some basic interrogation techniques I was able to determine that the Assessorís office is where the sit-in needed to be staged. Remarkably, after a slightly rocky start, the half dozen people who were involved in investigating what was wrong with me discovered that something was wrong with THEM instead. They were surprisingly helpful and even apologetic. The Assessorís office wasnít able to determine how the error was made but they assured me that the problem would be corrected. Additionally, even though the Collector would insist that I remit the penalty tax amount, the Assessorís office would issue a refund to me, making my net cost equivalent to the early payment discounted tax. Iím happy and Iíll be able to sleep well tonight.

Iím sure that you guys feel better now that the suspense has ended.

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Old 12-12-2007, 07:52 PM   #7
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Ok... So it turns out that the tax collector doesn't do anything except collect tax. Not able or really willing to help. Through the implementation of some basic interrogation techniques I was able to determine that the Assessorís office is where the sit-in needed to be staged. Remarkably, after a slightly rocky start, the half dozen people who were involved in investigating what was wrong with me discovered that something was wrong with THEM instead. They were surprisingly helpful and even apologetic. The Assessorís office wasnít able to determine how the error was made but they assured me that the problem would be corrected. Additionally, even though the Collector would insist that I remit the penalty tax amount, the Assessorís office would issue a refund to me, making my net cost equivalent to the early payment discounted tax. Iím happy and Iíll be able to sleep well tonight.

Iím sure that you guys feel better now that the suspense has ended.

A surprisingly good outcome - Congratulations! You were friendly in your discussions with the staff?
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:05 PM   #8
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A surprisingly good outcome - Congratulations! You were friendly in your discussions with the staff?

Yep. I'm a nice guy and also aware that honey works better than vinegar when catching flies.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:36 PM   #9
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Congratulations. Glad you were able to get this worked out so favorably. And good to know that your "nice" approach worked in case I ever need to seek this kind of assistance. Thanks for the follow-up so we get to see how this turned out.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:09 PM   #10
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Yep. I'm a nice guy and also aware that honey works better than vinegar when catching flies.
Exactly what I was thinking while reading....Many of those folks get to speak to soo many unhappy citizens in the course of a day, being pleasant goes a long way....can't hurt anyway. Care to share which state/county? Just Curious and might help others...
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:31 AM   #11
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Pennsylvania, Monroe County.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:57 PM   #12
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For some as yet unknown reason the county sent my school and property tax bills to an invalid address and I never received those bills for this year, 2007. Today I realized that these bills were overdue and I contacted the tax collector. She acknowledged that the bills were improperly addressed and that they were never delivered to me. She insists however that not only am I ineligible for the early payment discount but that I must pay a 10% penalty. Iím preparing a protest. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Can anyone provide any constructive advice? The total difference between the discounted and penalty tax is under $500.

First, pay up before anything serious starts happening to your property, like being sold for back taxes!

Then layout the situation with lots of detail to the property tax office supervisor. Then complaints to the county tax assessor who is likely an elected official. Then complaints to the County Commissioners (they are also likely elected officials). Then letters to the local papers, radio, TV stations.

If, at any point, someone waives the penalty or gives you a break, stop with any more complaints anywhere else, and give lavish thankyou's and praise.
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:20 AM   #13
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First, pay up before anything serious starts happening to your property, like being sold for back taxes!

Then layout the situation with lots of detail to the property tax office supervisor. Then complaints to the county tax assessor who is likely an elected official. Then complaints to the County Commissioners (they are also likely elected officials). Then letters to the local papers, radio, TV stations.

If, at any point, someone waives the penalty or gives you a break, stop with any more complaints anywhere else, and give lavish thankyou's and praise.

Pay up?

You should pay attention.
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RetireeRobert View Post
First, pay up before anything serious starts happening to your property, like being sold for back taxes!

Then layout the situation with lots of detail to the property tax office supervisor. Then complaints to the county tax assessor who is likely an elected official. Then complaints to the County Commissioners (they are also likely elected officials). Then letters to the local papers, radio, TV stations.

If, at any point, someone waives the penalty or gives you a break, stop with any more complaints anywhere else, and give lavish thankyou's and praise.
Best Advice.

Let's face it... today, we have so many obligations, we rely on reminders from the collectors.

If it were my situation, once I paid... I would raise enough of a stink that the the person or group that made the error would not be so lax the next time around... Just make sure it was not a mistake you made. However, there is a limit to the aggravation that I would want to incur. Unless the amount of money is huge, I would probably limit my protest to phone calls and a couple of letters.

My experience with business is that they will make adjustments. Local government might at least waive the penalty.

One word to the wise... the lower level person just repeats the line. Someone higher up makes decisions. Identify the decision maker.

I never... Never accept what someone at a lower level tells me (regardless of their title) in a situation where there is an unresolved dispute. Higher levels of management usually prefer to not get things stirred up, lest it uncovers other problems in the course of working through justifying their action.
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:48 AM   #15
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Best Advice...
My advice is you should learn to read too.
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