Tax deadline extended

Published 4:30 am Thursday, December 30, 2010

Homeowners who missed the Dec. 31 deadline to pay property taxes can breath a sigh of relief.

Joy Wiggins, tax collector for Escambia County, said taxpayers have the benefit of a little extra time, thanks to the holiday schedule.

“We were closed on Friday, Dec. 31,” Wiggins said. “Because we weren’t in the office on deadline day, we are allowing taxpayers until Monday, Jan. 3, 2011 to get their payments in.”

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Tax bills were mailed to area property owners in October with nearly $14.25 million in taxes due to the county.

“We have been doing pretty good with collections,” Wiggins said. “At the beginning of October we had a total of $14,240,082 that needed to be paid. As of the latest mailing, we have received $9,927,071.54.”

Wiggins said taxes not paid by the deadline would be assessed a fine for being late.

“There will be a 3 percent additional fee on taxes not paid on time,” Wiggins said. “There will also be a $5 collector’s fee on each account.

Wiggins said taxes can still be paid by mail, but postmarks must match the extended deadline date.

“We will still accept tax payments by mail,” Wiggins said. ‘If the taxpayer will get it to us by Jan. 3 or at least have it postmarked by Jan. 3, those payments will not be considered late and they can save that extra amount.”

For those who can’t get their taxes paid by the Jan. 3, 2011 deadline, additional fees will be applied to the tax amount, Wiggins said.

“Of course if taxes are still not paid by the deadline they will receive another notice in April,” Wiggins said. “In April, additional fees will be assessed to the account.”

Failing to pay after the April notice will find some properties up on the auction block, Wiggins said.

“If property taxes are not paid after the April notice, the property will be sold at public auction,” Wiggins said. “No one wants that to happen, even us.”

The Escambia County Tax Collector’s office is located on the main floor of the Escambia County Courthouse on Belleville Avenue. The office will be open Monday, Jan. 3 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office can be contacted by calling 867-0302.