Delinquent tax payers face Monday deadline

Area residents who are delinquent in paying their property taxes will reach a very important — and costly — legal milestone Monday, as penalties and interest continue to pile up on unpaid tabs.Taxpayers who are delinquent on their property tax will have until the end of the business day Monday to pay their bill if they want to avoid additional penalties and interest, as well well as a large attorney fee, according to County Tax Assessor Kathy Sayles.“The deadline actually falls on July 1, which is Sunday. However, state law mandates when the deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, it be moved to the next business day, which, in this case, is Monday,” Sayles said. “If folks will come in and pay their delinquent taxes, they can avoid the increase in penalties and interest, which will go up to a total of 18 percent, and the 20 percent attorney fee.” Sayles said once her office closes Monday at 5 p.m., however, area taxpayers will be stuck paying 12 percent penalty and 6 percent interest, including an additional 20 percent attorney fee.The official deadline to pay property taxes was Jan. 31, with penalties and interest compiling at the following rate: After Jan. 31, 6 percent penalty and 1 percent interest; after Feb. 28, 7 percent penalty and 2 percent interest; after March 31, 8 percent penalty and 3 percent interest; after April 30, 9 percent penalty and 4 percent interest; after May 31, 10 percent penalty and 5 percent interest; and after June 30, 12 percent penalty and 6 percent interest, including an additional 20 percent attorney fee.Sayles said delinquent tax payers should take this weekend’s deadline seriously.“The penalties and interest add up quickly, there’s no doubt about that,” Sayles said. “However, the 20 percent attorney fee more than doubles everything. For example, if your tax bill were just $200, your penalties and interest — for the month of July only — would be $36. Then, add another $40 for the attorney fees and you’re already up to $76, and that’s not even counting all the other penalties and fees accrued during the previus months. It’s not hard to see how quickly it can spiral out of hand.”Sayles said area taxpayers who aren’t sure about how much they owe can contact her office.“If you’re not sure about your status, it’s always better to check,” Sayles said. “All you have to do is give us a call and we can check the status of your property tax. I’d rather waste a few minutes on a phone call and know for sure than get stuck with a bill for penalties and interest.”For more information, contact the Howard County Tax Collector’s Office at 264-2232.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at