Tax trap: pay bill in full or suffer the consequences
By Matthew Burgoyne
Tax season is in full swing and plaguing everyone’s mind. Taxes are complex and include numerous statutes and regulations. Allan McKay learned this the hard way. McKay received a letter in the mail saying his house was going to be sold on the court house steps if he did not pay $430 in property taxes. This did not seem right to McKay, who had already paid his taxes, or so he thought. In 2006, McKay paid his tax bill which was approximately $2,500.
The bill is due in December of each year, but McKay waits until his tax refund comes back from the government to pay the property taxes. The delay in payment left an outstanding balance of $74, which the government transferred to his next bill.
McKay fell victim to interest payments. The government taxed him for the total amount of his bill, around $2,500, rather than the outstanding balance of $74. McKay had no idea of this regulation. “The state does not recognize partial payments,” says Becky Astin, Morgan County Tax Commissioner. “The government charges 1 percent interest per month until the bill is paid in full.”
“It’s not like a VISA payment,” Astin said. McKay did not know about this ruling and thinks more people need to know about it. “It is totally ridiculous that in the USA, $74 is going to lead to my $500,000 house being sold on the court house steps,”
McKay has paid the outstanding interest and is waiting for his tax refund to pay his 2007 bill, but he does not want others to go through what he has gone through.
“People need to know about this,” McKay said. For more information on property taxes in Georgia, visit the Department of Revenue website at HYPERLINK "http://www.dor.ga.gov/" http://www.dor.ga.gov/.