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Deadline to pay property taxes today

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Long lines will be the scene at most revenue offices across the state as today is the last day to pay property taxes without a penalty, and Franklin County is no exception.
Revenue Commissioner Don Garrard said an estimated 25 percent of property owners wait until the last few days to pay their taxes each year.
"We took in half a million dollars on Monday, and we estimate we'll take in half a million today [Tuesday]," Garrard said.
Lines were backed up to the foyer at the courthouse on Monday and Tuesday.
Garrard said that on Jan. 2, there will be a $5 and one percent penalty on property taxes not paid at that time.
Notices go out at the end of March on unpaid taxes, which adds another $15 to the late fees. Finally, before the sale is sold, it is advertised in the paper to give property owners the opportunity to pay their unpaid taxes.
"Once we advertise, an additional charge is added," Garrard said. "It could be as much as $100 after it runs in the newspaper."
Garrard said that the tax sale is held at the end of April.
"On average, we sell 20 to 30 pieces of property each year," Garrard said.
He added that the buyer of the property must pay the back taxes, in addition to the amount they bid on it.
"It's auctioned off so the amount is determined by the bidder," Garrard said.
Even after the auction, the sale is not final for three years.
"The auction is not final," Garrard said. "The owner can come back to claim the property by paying all the fees and the costs on the property."
Garrard said he encourages every property owner to pay their taxes today if they have not already done so, but to expect lines.
"The amount of time property owners will have to wait will vary depending on what each person at the window needs," Garrard said.