12/30/11 — County taxpayers line up to beat deadline

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County taxpayers line up to beat deadline

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 30, 2011 1:46 PM

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Wayne County residents line up at the courthouse early today to pay their 2011 property taxes. Taxes can be paid without penalty by 5 p.m. Thursday.

A line of people this morning snaked around the inside of the Wayne County Tax Office and out the door into the atrium of the county courthouse annex as the tax office reopened after being closed, along with most county offices, for a week for the Christmas holiday. It will be closed again on Monday for New Year's Day leaving only three days remaining for people to pay their property taxes without having to worry about a late penalty.

Next Thursday is the deadline to pay to avoid a 2-percent penalty that will be added on Friday. An additional three-fourths of a percent is added on any unpaid balance at the first of each following month.

Bills may be paid at the tax office on the first floor of the county courthouse annex or people can use a drop box located on Ormond Avenue next to the annex.

People can avoid lines at the tax office by paying online or by mail.

However, those two methods come with caveats:

* There is an additional fee associated with paying online. The county does not receive any of that fee.

* Mailed-in payments must have a U.S. postmark of no later than Jan. 5 to be considered "on time." Office postal machine postmarks do not qualify.

The start of the new year also signals the beginning of the tax-listing season for people who own real and/or personal property in the county.

Several years ago Wayne County Commissioners implemented a policy in which all real estate in the county is permanently listed and automatically charged to the owner of record as of Jan. l.

That means that property owners do not have to list real estate unless improvements have been made on the property since Jan. 1 or the owner's address has changed. Any improvements must be noted on the listing form or by telling with tax listers in the county tax office.

Property must be listed between Jan. 3 and 31 -- any listing made after that time will be subject to a penalty of 10 percent of the taxes levied.

City and county listings are made at the same time and failure to list property is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

All people residing in the county on Jan. 1, whether temporarily or not, are required to file.

Military personnel are required to file under legal or voting residence, and not wherever they might be stationed on Jan. 1. Civilian personnel at military bases who resided in the county on Jan. 1 are required to make a return as well.

People or businesses that own any tangible personal property -- such as machinery, fixtures and equipment, unlicensed vehicles, boats, motors, jet skis, wave runners, airplanes and mobile homes -- must file a return with a list taker or by mail.

A business operated by military personnel is taxable at the location of the business.

All businesses with property in the county on Jan. 1, must complete a return regardless of the location of the owner's residence or of the home office.

Instead of filing a return, all business firms must file the required business listing form from which the return will be taken. Caution should be taken to ensure that the returned values are identical or reconciled with those appearing in the state income tax return, tax officials said.

All business listing forms must be forwarded directly to the county Tax Department, located in the county courthouse annex, 224 E. Walnut St., or given to a list taker in the tax office.