The cost of pre-pay taxes

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Editor, Smithfield Times

    The Isle Pre-pay Personal Property Program is costing taxpayers money. Each booklet costs $1.43 plus $.47 to mail times the 2,500 residents who “signed up” for the program. (My son did not sign up for the program, but he did receive a booklet.) A grand total of $4,750 is added to the bottom line of the county budget.

    Recently, some Isle of Wight Citizens received these voucher booklets only to be shocked by the incorrect information printed in the booklets. My son’s tax was doubled. Another man’s went up 400 percent. A letter of apology was sent to all citizens receiving the voucher booklets — another expense.

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    I contacted Dick Grice. He graciously checked into the problem for me and responded quickly. Mr. Grice stated the county wanted to create a steady stream of revenue, which was, also, verified by Mr. Donald Robertson. Quite the opposite of what I was told last year. Last year when the personal property bill went to a bi-annual payment without prior notice, I called the Commissioner of Revenue to complain about the increased cost incurred by the extra billing. I was told Isle of Wight residents were asking to pay more frequently as they did not have the large sum necessary to pay at the end of the year.

    It costs money to process the monthly payments. It takes more hours of labor to process monthly payments than it does to process annual payments.

    Another labor intensive cost is created by taxpayers who use the payment voucher needing to call the courthouse before paying the bi-annual bills to make sure they have not over-paid nor paid too little, thereby incurring a penalty. More labor?

    With a little bit of elementary math, every taxpayer can divide the total personal property tax for 2015 by 12 to get a monthly amount to be placed in a savings account to earn interest while waiting to pay the bill annually. Imagine, by doing this you are earning money while preparing to pay the dreaded tax bill.

    Citizens should speak to their board representative and ask that they go back to the annual payment.

Linda Jacob