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Property tax bills will be late, but if you want to pay some …

This year’s property tax bills may not be ready for several months due to state-mandated reassessments, but property owners who want to go ahead and pay some money in advance to avoid having to pay all the bill at one time can do so.
Normally, property owners get their tax bills in March or April, and half is due in May and the other half in November.
Advance payment is not required, said Harrison County Treasurer Rena Stepro. But, she said, “We will take an advance payment and apply it to the tax bill when we get the tax rates.
“But no one has to pay; they can wait until they get their tax statements.”
“The big question people have,” said Harrison County Auditor Pat Wolfe, “is where is our tax statement and how much are my taxes?”
That may not be known until the end of summer, because details are yet to be worked out. Property values on which taxes are based must fall within a required range for the neighborhood, and those figures must be certified by the state.
CLT, the company hired by Harrison County’s assessors to handle reassessments, is awaiting certification of the company’s figures by the state before supplying those figures to the county assessor, who will then give the new valuations to the auditor.
After that, Wolfe said, the revised assessment is sent to the state and the state figures the tax rates. Once that step is completed, and the rates applied, the treasurer mails the tax bills to the taxpayer.
Because the tax bill will be figured on “true” market value, values will be higher than in the past, but rates should come down proportionately.
“Remember, the higher the valuation goes, the lower the tax rate goes,” said Harrison County Assessor Paul Saulman.
Due to the limited increase allowed by the state for property taxes (which can’t exceed a five-percent increase), it takes a smaller tax rate to raise the same amount in taxes if the values are higher.
Wolfe also reminded new homeowners to file by May 10 for state allowed exemptions and the state’s homestead credit. Non-profit organizations have until May 15 to file.
“If you have refinanced your mortgage this year, you need to refile for the mortgage exemption before May 10,” Wolfe said. “You automatically lose the exemption if you refinance.”

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