Tax bills arrive for local property owners

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One lesson we learn as we grow older is that as surely as Santacomes every year, so does the tax man.

Lincoln County Tax Assessor Nancy Jordan said tax notices havebeen sent out to property owners in the county and city.

Jordan said her office processed 22,485 this year. She said the taxoffice was running just a bit behind where they’d like to be ongetting the statements out this year.

“We have to have them out so we’re able to collect by December 26,”she said. “Unfortunately we’re running a little late getting themout.”

The difference in last year’s taxes and this year’s can be readilyseen for citizens who were annexed this year, Jordan said.

Using a $100,000 house as an example, she said in 2007, someoneliving in the Brookhaven School District would pay $717.10 intaxes. This year, she said, someone in the annexation area wouldpay $1,061.70 on the same property.

Jordan explained that the amounts are based on millage rates in thecounty, the city, and the city school district. Rates, based onbudget needs, were set earlier this year by aldermen andsupervisors for their respective areas.

Feb. 1 is the deadline to pay taxes, Jordan said. After February,there is a 1 percent penalty per month until August, when theproperty would go to the land sale for delinquent taxes.

Jordan also said residents living in mobile homes won’t receivetheir cards until after the first of January. Mobile homes will beassessed for 2008.

“They’re assessed in advance like auto tags,” she said. “But thelien date (deadline) is still Feb. 1.”

Homestead filing begins in January and continue through April 1,Jordan said. She said there are also measures for new home owners,as well as others, who might qualify for exemptions.

“If you have a new home and have never filed, go to the taxassessor’s office,” she said. ” If you have a new home or you’refiling on different property, if you’re disabled, or if you were 65by Jan. 1, 2008 and have never filed for a special exemption, youmight be eligible.”

Jordan said in order to make paying taxes easier on everyone, sheencouraged taxpayers to come to the tax office before or after thelunch hour, as the office tends to fill up during that time. Shesaid the busiest time is between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“This is due to the fact that employees are rotating their lunchbreaks, and other people are doing their lunch hour business,” shesaid. “Try to come before or after those times, and you’re morelikely to get in and out much faster.”