By Bob Robinson
The Carter County Commission is scheduled to vote July 16 on raising property taxes by six cents, (from the current rate of $2.1528 to $2.210 per $100 of property assessments) on approximately 33,000 parcels of taxable property in Carter County.
The proposed property tax rate breakdown for Carter County for fiscal year 2012-2013, compared to fiscal year 2011-2012, is as follows:
|Fund||2012-2013 Proposed Rate||2011-2012 Actual Rate|
|County General Fund||$0.950||$0.9504|
|County Highway Fund||$0.130||$0.130|
|General Purpose Schools||$1.015||$0.9864|
The $2.210 proposed property tax rate for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is designed to raise $17,515,492 in property taxes to finance Carter County government operations over the next 12 months. A portion (approximately 12 percent) will go to the City of Elizabethton for education based on average daily attendance of county students in city schools, according to Jerome Kitchens, finance director for the City of Elizabethton.
The $2.1528 rate adopted for the 2011-2012 fiscal year generated $17,790,334. However, only 88 percent, $15,674,436, were paid by the Feb. 29, 2012 tax deadline before taxes became delinquent, according to records in the office of the Carter County Trustee.
On March 1, 2012, a total of $2,115,898 in property taxes, 12 percent of the amount due, became delinquent. At that time, penalty and interest accrues at the rate of 1.5 percent per month on all delinquent taxes.
Thus far this year, collection of 2011 delinquent property taxes has been successful. As of June 19, 2012, Carter County property taxes unpaid and pending totaled $984,524. This is less than nine percent of total parcels and six percent of total unpaid taxes for 2011, according to Carter County Trustee Randal Lewis.
By comparison, the property tax rate was $2.28 for the 2010 tax year. The total amount of property taxes due to be paid by Feb. 28, 2011 was $16,431,030. However, only 87 percent of the property taxes, totaling $14,262,404, were paid on time. The remaining $2,168,626, or approximately13 percent of total taxes to be paid, became delinquent and were subject to accrual of penalty and interest at the rate of 1.5 percent. On April 2012, a total of $252,055 in delinquent property taxes for the 2010 tax year was turned over to the Clerk and Master for collection.
Certain parcels are exempt from property taxes, such as those owned by religious, scientific, educational, charitable and non-profit organizations. However, they must apply to obtain exempt status. Tennessee State law allows the Carter County Tax Assessor to aid the property owner in the exempt application process but the authority to exempt property resides with the Tennessee State Board of Equalization (TSBOE).
The TSBOE reviews all applications in order to determine if the property qualifies for an exemption. Most government-owned properties are automatically exempt from taxation. Exempt applications and information regarding the exempt process are available at the Carter County Tax Assessor’s Office in the Courthouse.
This October, Property Tax Notices will be mailed to owners of approximately 33,000 parcels of taxable property in Carter County, according to Ronnie Taylor, Carter County Tax Assessor. The 2012 Carter County Property Taxes will become delinquent if not paid by Feb. 28, 2013. Carter County’s deadline to pay property taxes is the last day of February in the year after tax notices are mailed in October, Taylor said.
The deadline to pay property taxes in the City of Elizabethton is March 31 of each year. If not paid by the deadline, property taxes become delinquent on April 1 and penalty and interest begins to accrue at 1.5 percent per month, according to Jerome Kitchens, finance director with the City of Elizabethton. They are turned over to the City Attorney and the Carter County Clerk and Master for collection.
Tennessee Property Tax Relief is available to disabled veterans, widower of a disabled veteran, those over 65 years of age, and “declared” disabled homeowners. If you own property used as your primary residence and located outside the Elizabethton City Limits, contact the Office of the Carter County Trustee, located on the first floor of the Carter County Courthouse. If you own property used as your primary residence in the City of Elizabethton, contact the Finance Department Office at City Hall.
The deadline to apply for tax relief is 35 days after the jurisdiction’s delinquent tax payment date. The 2011 City of Elizabethton Property Taxes became delinquent on April 1, 2012. In Carter County, 2011 property taxes became delinquent on March 1, 2012. Applications for tax relief for the 2012 tax year will be available in October of 2012.
In order to help revenue collection, the Carter County Trustee has implemented a new property tax payment plan with no additional fees. Effective October 2012, the plan will allow four payments of property taxes with a minimum of 25 percent of the total tax being required each payment.
“The plan will not affect accrued interest and penalties on unpaid delinquent taxes and would not apply to delinquent property taxes turned over to the Clerk and Master for collection. I feel this plan is in the best interest of Carter County citizens and taxpayers,” Lewis said.
Next: City of Elizabethton Delinquent Property Tax Payments.
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