Property Tax Deadline Brings Rush At Smith County Tax Office - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/31/05-Tyler

Property Tax Deadline Brings Rush At Smith County Tax Office

It's the busiest day of the year at the Smith County Tax Office.
"Since 8 o'clock, we've pretty much maintained about 20 in a line," said Smith County Deputy Bill Potts.
The line never got any shorter. Last minute filers, getting their property tax in just under the penalty gun.
"I was about to take off to tell you the truth," said Eric Hochheim. "I figured coming Monday at lunchtime it would have slowed down a little but it wasn't."
Sonny Spredlin said the parking was worse than the wait. "I think it would have been closer to park at The Square and then walk down here," he said.
Why the rush? Penalties. If you didn't get your Smith County property tax in Monday, you'll owe a lot more tomorrow.
"The penalty interest accumulates very quickly," said Smith County Tax Accessor/Collector Gary Barber.
Just how quickly? Let's say you owe $2,000 in Smith County property taxes.
When the 7 percent penalty kicks in on February 1st, you'd owe $2,140.
However, the penalties don't stop there. There's a 2 percent penalty every month after February. So by March you'd owe $2,180. In July, if you still haven't paid up, you'd owe more than $2,360. Also in July the county tacks on 15 percent in attorneys fees. So you'd owe $2,714.
"I would urge anyone if they can't pay in full, to pay as much as they can because the penalty interest is on the unpaid balance," said Barber.
As for those who waited till the last minute, they have some advice for next year.
"If you wait until the last day be prepared to continue to wait in line," said Edward Wallace.
If your property tax is postmarked by January 31st, you will not be penalized.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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