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$11.36M in property tax expected

Covington County looks to collect more than $11.36 million dollars during this year’s property tax collection period, which began Oct. 1 and has a deadline of Dec. 31.

Covington County Revenue Commissioner Janice Hart said the county would collect $11,360,417, which is an increase of a little more than $200,000 over last year’s total collections.

“We’ve had a pretty good flow of taxpayers come in to pay this week,” Hart said. “I’d say it’s either the same as last year, or maybe even a little busier. We’ve already seen a lot of returns through the mail, as well.”

Residents who receive a tax bill in the mail have until Dec. 31 to pay the property tax. If they miss that deadline, they are subject to a penalty fee. Taxpayers have two options — they can either come to the courthouse to pay the bill, or they can return the payment through the mail.

The revenue commissioner’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Property owners who pay through the mail should send their bills and payment to “Revenue Commissioner, 1 North Court Square, Suite G, Andalusia, AL 36420.”

Hart reminded payers that they should bring their bills to the courthouse, in order to expedite the process.

“It goes much smoother if you bring your bill to the courthouse when you come to pay,” she said. “Each bill has an account number, and we can then key that number in and make sure we’re posting to the correct parcel.”

Additionally, now is the time to claim the homeowner’s exemption for any recently purchased property, Hart said.

“If it’s your property and you live on it, then you’re entitled to the homeowner’s exemption,” she said. “If you were to come in and apply for a homeowner’s exemption today, then you’d have to have owned the property and lived there since at least September 2008. If that’s the case, then you only pay 10 percent the assessed value of the property.”

Property taxes are distributed to the school systems, the county’s general fund and road/bridge fund, among other areas.

“These taxes help fund a variety of services we all use every day,” Hart said.