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Chatham 2008 tax bills hit the mail

Posted Friday, August 1, 2008

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Pittsboro, NC - Chatham County residents can expect to receive their 2008 county tax bills within the next couple of weeks. "They will be mailed on August 4th," said Chatham County Tax Administrator Tina Stone.

The current tax rate is 65.3 cents per $100 valuation, an increase of 3.6 cents from last year. However, it is 1.9 cents lower than the proposed budget had provided. About 58% of the tax increase will be used for school needs and to create a capital reserve fund for park facilities, while the rest will be used for general county programs and personnel.

"We would prefer not to have any tax increase at all," said George Lucier, chair of the Board of Commissioners. "However, we did not see a way to further reduce the budget without hurting important programs and services."

Lucier added that other local governments across the state also have been impacted by the economic situation, but "this is often the time that we see an increased demand for certain services. It is a difficult dilemma for elected officials."

Stone said that it is important for taxpayers to carefully review their tax bills after receiving them. If they identify problems or have questions, they should contact the Tax Office as soon as possible at 919-542-8250. In some cases, taxpayers will receive one bill covering both real estate property and personal property (such as a boat or mobile home), while some will receive separate bills for different properties.

For residents living outside incorporated towns, which have their own municipal waste collection, the county property tax bill includes the county's annual Solid Waste Fee. The fee was increased by $10 (or 8%) per residence to accumulate funds to build a new waste and recycling center. Information on services from Chatham County's Waste Management Department is included in the tax bill mailing.

The county allows an exemption from the Solid Waste Fee when the residence is not habitable or it has been vacant for more than two years. To be eligible for the fee exemption, taxpayers must file an application with the Tax Office by January 5, 2009, but the fees will not be waived after this deadline.

The tax bill mailing also includes an insert about the county's revaluation of real property, which will take effect in January, 2009. Chatham County revalues real property (land, buildings, etc.) every four years.

The deadline to appeal real estate property tax values for the current tax year has already passed, but taxpayers may appeal the value, location (situs) or taxability of personal property within 30 days of the tax billing date (included on the tax bill). Personal property includes mobile homes, boats and motors, airplanes, unlicensed vehicles, or business personal property..

"It is important for people to know that the deadline to appeal personal property values is set by state law and is not negotiable," Stone said.

Taxpayers are billed for any personal property they owned as of January 1, 2008. "If you owned a boat on January 1 of this year and sold it the next month, you still owe the full year of personal property taxes for that boat," Stone said.

Real estate property taxes also are billed based on January 1, 2008 ownership. "However, the county now has the capability of mailing the bill to the owner as of the billing date. The owner as of January 1 will be printed on the bill as well," Stone said.

She added that the attorney handling the property closing usually requires the seller to pay a prorated share of taxes, with the buyer paying the remaining balance. "If you receive a tax bill for a property you sold earlier this year, we strongly you to send the property's 2008 tax bill to the new owners immediately to avoid problems with delinquent taxes," Stone said.

The Tax Office offers several methods of payment, including the chance to pay in installments. You can pay your taxes in partial payments by either mailing them to P.O. Box 697, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or by visiting the Tax Office in Pittsboro in the Courthouse Annex. If making a partial payment, please include your tax ID account number (found on your tax bill) on all payments.

Those paying in installments must complete all payments by the January 5, 2009 deadline, as required by state law. Those who do not pay in full by the deadline will be subject to additional charges and enforcement procedures..

For more information on other tax payment options, including payment by credit card or bank draft, contact the Tax Collections Office at 919-542-8260 or visit the following website:

Residents not receiving their 2008 property tax bills by early September should contact the Tax Listing Office at 919-542-8250.

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