The Cullman County revenue office sent out its first round of delinquent tax notices Monday to local property owners who missed this year’s extended Jan. 2 payment deadline.
At the close of last week, revenue commissioner Barry Willingham said his office had collected $20,931,690 in property taxes on 41,132 parcels for the 2012 fiscal year, with approximately $1.5 million in uncollected taxes on 4,680 parcels still outstanding.
Property taxes become due on Oct. 1 of each year, and are payable with no penalty until Jan. 1 of the following year. After that, late payment penalties accrue at a simple interest rate of 1 percent per month, plus associated fees.
“It’s 1 percent for every month, and it’s not compounded — just straight interest,” said Willingham. “There’s a $5 notice for the first time we send out delinquent notices. The law says we have to send out certified letters by March 1, and that adds a legally-required probate fee, and an extra collector’s fee plus the certified mail fee. If people are still delinquent by the end of March, we have to advertise it in the paper three times, and there are fees for that, and it just goes up from there.”
At this point, many delinquent payers may not even know they’re overdue — particularly those who bought property within the last year presuming they wouldn’t owe taxes until the end of the 2013 cycle.
“We’ll probably have a couple of thousand who pay this month,” he said. “Right now, we’re on the phone calling these people who bought property in the last 16 months who may not be aware.
“There’s property that was bought by public entities; properties that normally are exempt, but, if those entities didn’t own their property until after the 1st of October [of 2012], there still are taxes on it. It’s the same thing with the state, where they’ve bought right-of-way property. So we’re just going through and letting everybody know, because some of them don’t.”
* Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.