Issuance of county's property tax notices to be delayed

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Carter County property owners planning to pay property taxes on October 1 are being urged by the county Trustee's office to wait until they've received their tax notices in the mail to pay their dues.
   The state of Tennessee's Department of Revenue has yet to send the Trustee's office software verifying individual property tax assessments, said Gloria Colbaugh with the county Trustee's office.
   The office cannot process the tax notices -- or accept property tax payments from citizens -- until the state's information is received.
   "Nashville is going to process the notices and we don't know when exactly we are going to be getting them," said county Trustee Randal K. Lewis.
   The county commission did not set the property tax rate of $2.22 per $100 of assessed value until the county budget was passed on Sept. 9.
   The county budget is usually passed in June. However, the budget timetable is traditionally moved back during a county election year until a new county commission is seated in early September.
   Tax notices are typically mailed to property owners in September. Lewis said his office sent out approximately 30,000 tax notices to owners of property within the county each year.
   "We actually can't take payments until the notices are sent," said Lewis.
   Persons qualified for tax relief receive vouchers via mail.
   Citizens should wait to pay their property taxes until they receive tax notices or vouchers, said Lewis.
   "We have to make sure we have got everything we need from the state to process the notices," said Colbaugh. She estimated tax notices would be sent out by October 11.
   Tax vouchers mailed to citizens eligible to receive tax relief are expected to be sent two to three weeks after that, she added.
   Property tax payments are effectively due on October 1 of each year. The deadline for property tax payments will not change, said Lewis.
   Citizens receiving property tax notice cards and vouchers have until February 28, 2003 to pay their property taxes without being assessed a penalty for payment delinquency.