Things have begun to heat up in Alamance County’s tax office in the three weeks or so since it issued the property tax bills for the new fiscal year.
These bills, which were dispatched on July 10, reflect the new property values that came out of the county’s latest mass revaluation as well as a new tax rate that the board of commissioners subsequently approved. At 43.2 cents for every $100 of property value, the new levy is roughly three quarters of a cent higher than the so-called revenue neutral figure that the tax office determined would erase the county’s windfall from the revaluation.
In either case, the bills which incorporate these new numbers are already drawing a robust response from area residents, according to the county’s tax administrator Jeremy Akins.
“Any time we send out bills, the phones light up and we get walk-ins, and this year is no different,” Akins explained in an interview Wednesday. “But one of the routine things we see is that some people want to appeal, and this year there has been a lot more interest in appealing because of the revaluation.”
Akins emphasized that the annual deadline for tax appeals always precedes the date when tax bills are issued. The tax office must, consequently, inform residents who’ve missed this deadline that they’ll have to wait another year to file an appeal against their current tax values.
Akins added that he and his colleagues can take immediate action to address clerical errors or cases of “illegal” taxation, which he said can occur if the tax office happens to bill property that’s outside the county’s jurisdiction. He nevertheless noted that these on-the-spot corrections are only possible when the error is relatively clear-cut.
“We’re talking about typos, computer errors, regular oopsies,” he said. “The option we don’t have is to appeal it this year at this time but if there’s anything we can do for them, we try to do it for them.”
Akins said that people who still have pending revaluation appeals can wait until their case is resolved to pay their tax bills. But if they want to take advantage of the county’s early payment discount, they can do so without having forfeit their appeal. The appellant can tender a payment based on the current tax value by the end of August in order to lock in this .5 percent discount, and if their appeal is ultimately adjudicated in their favor, the tax office will cut them a check to cover the amount they have overpaid.