Union County property owners only have about two more weeks in which to pay taxes without incurring penalties.
Union County Tax Assessor-Collector Tameri Dunnam said the taxes were due Jan. 1 with a Feb. 1 deadline. Many people prefer to pay their taxes earlier but Dunnam’s office still experiences waiting lines, particularly around the middle of the day and 3:30 to 5 p.m.
If the owner doesn’t meet the Feb. 1 deadline, there is a one-percent per month penalty for delinquent payments. The property may eventually be sold in August to pay delinquent taxes if the property owner has not paid them.
Property owners should generally see no change from last year unless improvements have been made to the property or buildings have been demolished.
People have some misconceptions about property taxes.
Taxes are based on the appraised value of the property rather than a sale price and the state has a uniform appraisal system. Staff members look at the type of building, construction materials, type of roof, number of baths, number of heating and cooling units, square footage and other basics to determine appraised value.
The appraisal update is done every four years.
A property owner may come in any time to update appraisal if, for instance, a building is demolished or some other substantive change is made and taxes can be lowered.
Some questions come up every year concerning taxes.
“First, everyone pays school taxes,” Dunnam said. Everyone pays school taxes but nobody pays both city and county school taxes despite what some believe.
“It doesn’t matter whether you have a child in school,” she said. Most people who think they pay both live in the large area in the northeast part of the county that is the so-called “added territory” for the city school district. People see city school tax listed even though they live out in the county and they assume – wrongly – county school tax is added in somewhere as well. It is not.
As noted, some people believe taxes are based on the actual or selling price of property.
“It’s not market value or selling value,” Dunnam said, but calculated using the state formula. You do not want to pay tax based on market value, most likely, because you would be paying considerably more.
Some people wonder why tax on one piece of property might be much higher than for a similar plot. Dunnam said that is often because the person with higher taxes may not be taking advantage of exemptions available to him or her.
Exemptions include being 100-percent disabled or being over age 65 but the most familiar may be Homestead Exemption (you must apply for any of these).
Homestead Exemption is a benefit available to homeowners who live in the county and pay all applicable taxes. Regular Homestead allows up to $300 tax credit on a home with a $75,000 or more appraised value. Special Homestead is for residents 65 years old or older at Jan. 1, or who are 100 percent disabled. It exempts up to $75,000 of the appraised value.
One may apply for Homestead Exemption between Jan. 2 and April 1 but it must be done in the tax office.
You need to bring a filed warranty deed, Social Security numbers for all those listed on the deeds as well as their spouses, all license tag numbers, and, if disabled, a Notice of Award Letter saying you are 100-percent disabled. If you are applying for veterans exemption you will need a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs saying you are 100-percent disabled and it is service connected.
If you are granted Homestead Exemption you don’t have to reapply every year. You do have to reapply if a life change has occurred such as death, divorce, marriage or sale of homesteaded properties occurs.
If you don’t want to pay taxes in person you can also pay taxes with credit cards but there will be a 2.35-percent convenience fee added because state law does not allow that fee to be included in the tax bill.
Anyone who has questions may call Dunnam’s office at 534-1972. The information on the new tax bills is generally self-explanatory if one reads it, however.
deadline, homestead exemption, penalty, property tax