Property tax returns behind

Published 1:15 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Less than a quarter of the more than $11 million in property taxes billed in October has been collected, Revenue Commissioner Janice Hart said Monday.

With more than $8.57 million left to be remitted by local residents, the slow collections are “not going to get us where we should be by the end of the year,” Hart said.

To date, Covington County property owners have remitted $2.77 million in ad valorem taxes, which are more commonly known as property taxes.

“It’s not normally this slow at this time of the year,” Hart said. “We’ve only got a month to go before people don’t have to pay a penalty. We have gotten a few good payments in the mail today since the mail didn’t run over the Thanksgiving holiday, but it’s not enough to get us where we should be by the end of the year.

“Typically, it’s slow around Thanksgiving and picks up at the first of the month,” she said. “We’ll have to see if this year follows suit.”

Residents can submit their payments in person or by mail; however, no matter how it’s remitted, payment must be received by Dec. 31 to avoid a penalty consisting of a $5 late fee plus 1 percent of the total property tax bill.

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.

“We’re about to enter the time of the year when there could be long lines,” she said. “We just ask that people be patient and come with their bills, if at all possible.”