Fulton County tax bills will not go out on time, delaying collections
A problem that has kept Fulton County from setting its millage rate will mean residents’ tax bills are delayed for at least a month and revenue collections will likewise be delayed.
If the county, cities or school districts borrow money to cover the gap between when taxes were expected and taxes arrive, it means that some of the taxes that residents pay will go toward paying interest and administrative fees for the borrowing, as opposed to paying for programs. The county may also consider delaying some programs, if the problem persists, Fulton County Chief Financial Officer Sharon Whitmore said.
The bills usually go out in July or August, and are due October 15. But a problem in calculating the tax digest means tax bills will not be sent before mid-September, and payment would not be due until November, at the earliest.
The delay increases the likelihood that Fulton County, its cities and the schools will have to borrow money to meet their obligations. A spokeswoman for Fulton County schools, Susan Hale, said in an email that the district is “watching our cash situation closely” and will have to borrow “if the delay continues for an extended time.” “(Tax bills) will not go out according to the normal time frame this year,” Whitmore said. “It’s a big deal. We need to resolve it.”
Fulton County has not yet set its tax rate because the system that calculates the tax digest had trouble differentiating between increases due to reassessed property and those that come from new growth. Georgia law requires governments to decrease the millage rate as values rise, or to advertise that they are increasing taxes if values rise and the millage rate stays the same. Without knowing what the actual values are, Fulton has been able to do neither.
David Fitzgibbon, Fulton’s chief appraiser, said in an email that there had been indications last summer that there might have been an error in the calculation. Attempts to fix the problem this summer only uncovered more issues with the calculations. At a Fulton County commission meeting Wednesday, Vice Chairman Liz Hausmann said everything the county does is predicated on collecting taxes. To say that there will be a delay in doing so is a problem, she said, is a “major understatement.”
“This is no way to do business,” she said. “I don’t know at what point we declare that an emergency, but I think we’re kind of close.”
To ensure timely processing of your request, please submit your request as follows:
(1) Download and complete the Water/Sewer Request For Statement Of Charges form. Provide accurately written responses to each form element including the requested date, real property address and tax identification, type of property and the requestor’s verifiable contact information. Note: Please complete one form per property address/ property tax i.d. for which you are requesting information.
(2) Make out a check or money order to the City of Atlanta in the amount of $10.00 U.S. dollars. Note: Please submit $10.00 for each property address/property tax i.d. request (form).
(3) Enclose the check or money order and your completed form in an envelope and send via certified mail to: ATTN: Finance Department, 9th Floor, 72 Marietta Street, Atlanta, GA 30303.
It will take up to ten (10) business days to process your request upon receipt of certified mail and fulfillment of payment requirements. Once your request has been successfully processed, you will receive a Statement of Charges; the pay-off amount is valid for thirty (30) days from the date of the Statement. Keep in mind that the property may be subjected to additional payment requirements to satisfy any applicable liens or for the establishment of new services.
Note: The City of Atlanta will not be responsible for incomplete or inaccurate reported information.
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