Chatham County’s tax office — like similar offices in North Carolina’s other 100 counties — keeps a close eye on tax receipts. Those collected funds, after all, provide the largest share of …
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Chatham County’s tax office — like similar offices in North Carolina’s other 100 counties — keeps a close eye on tax receipts. Those collected funds, after all, provide the largest share of the revenue stream used to pay for government operations, including county services and the operation of public schools on an annual basis.
But Tax Administrator Jenny Williams and her staff also keep a watchful eye on the calendar.
Now that the deadline for paying real and personal property taxes (which was Jan. 5) has passed, the department’s next deadline is Feb. 1. That’s when personal and business property tax listings for all Chatham County property owners as of Jan. 1 are due.
Those listings forms have been mailed out, but property owners who need to make changes to their real or personal property listings can also pick up forms at the tax office in Pittsboro or download a form at chathamnc.org/TaxForms. (For more information, call (919) 542-8250.)
As for property taxes, as of this week, a little more than $70 million of the total amount of property (or ad valorem, in official terms) taxes billed in Chatham have been collected within Williams’ office. That’s about 94% of the $74,798,920 in taxes that were due on Jan. 5. And Chatham’s collection rate is about 2% ahead of last year’s at this same time, which is a good sign — particularly given that the county temporarily stopped enforced collections last spring as the COVID-19 pandemic took root.
Still, not everyone pays what’s due.
Unpaid taxes trigger a series of events on the department’s calendar. In February, Williams will prepare and present a report to the county’s board of commissioners about unpaid taxes. Commissioners will follow suit by issuing an order for Williams’ office to advertise the tax liens on properties associated with the unpaid taxes.
About a month before that advertisement is published — as a listing of unpaid taxes printed in the News + Record, by name of the registered property owner — those who are delinquent in paying taxes will get a notice from the county. That notice, in the form of a registered letter, serves a dual purpose, according to Williams.
“It’s sort of a joint letter and notifies them if they don’t pay their taxes, then they will be in the newspaper, and also notifies them that we can garnish any lottery winnings or their state income tax refund,” Williams said. “That initial letter serves that purpose. That way, we’re notifying you about those processes. And the delinquent tax collector, he’s the one that sends out the garnishment letters.”
The exact dates for those events haven’t been set yet, but they’ll end up as another starred date on the department’s calendar. And as Williams reminds taxpayers who haven’t paid, that due date — Jan. 5 — should have been starred on their calendars, too.
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