The new year means a fresh start and brings fun for many, but it also brings a deadline for paying for property taxes.
Property tax notices were sent out the first of October by the Tallapoosa County Revenue Commissioner’s office but some are waiting until the last minute for the Dec. 31 deadline or beyond.
“This year we are about on track for average for this close to Dec. 31,” revenue commissioner Eva Middlebrooks said Thursday. “We have collected about $15.7 million so far and $9.8 million left unpaid.”
Middlebrooks said her office is averaging over $300,000 a day in property tax collections, mostly by checks but credit cards and cash are accepted too. Most of the more than $25 million in property taxes will be collected by the Dec. 31 deadline.
“Usually the last 15 days of the year are the busiest,” Middlebrooks said. “By the end of the year we will collect but about $2 million.”
Middlebrooks said some overlook paying property taxes but others pay the taxes to mortgage companies monthly which in turn pay the property taxes because of the way the loan was written. Even if the mortgage company doesn’t forward the property taxes on to the revenue commissioner’s office, property owners are still liable but there is a way to check to see if the task has been done by checking online.
“All of the mortgage companies usually pay by the end of November,” Middlebrooks said. “We have posted all of the large mortgage company checks that we received before Dec. 23. Property owners can keep tabs on it through our website.”
Property owners can go to www.tallapoosapropertytax.com and click on the “Search & Pay Taxes” tab to search for their property and the status of property tax payments. Middlebrooks said if property owners see their taxes are still unpaid and they are supposed to be paid by the mortgage company, property owners should check with the mortgage company to see if the funds have been dispersed yet.
Property owners who do not pay their taxes by the Dec. 31 deadline will be subject to a $5 fee and an extra 1.5% of the tax bill in late interests.
Middlebrooks said the Dadeville courthouse is the only location property taxes can be paid in person in Tallapoosa County and the revenue commissioner’s office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 31.
“The lines are steady right now,” Middlebrooks said. “Sometimes there is a short line.
But paying in person is not the only way to get property taxes paid on time.
“We work on the mailed-in payments as we take payments at the window,” Middlebrooks said. “Doing so puts us behind on mailed payments. We will honor postmarks through Dec. 31. It may take us until Jan. 10 or 11 to get all those mailed into the system. That is our goal so we can send out delinquent bills Jan. 12 giving everyone a 30-day notice of the Feb. 15 deadline for delinquent property taxes.”
After the Dec. 31 deadline Middlebrooks said personal checks will no longer be accepted for taxes.
“We will take cash, money orders or certified funds,” Middlebrooks said. “We just cannot take personal checks after Dec. 31. We can take debit and credit cards.”
For property taxes left unpaid by Feb. 15 Middlebrooks said property owners will receive notices property will be advertised for the annual property tax sale in May.