Listen up, blog readers!
I am going to tell you about Tax Collecting. Let’s call this class: Tax Collecting 1o1.
There will be a quiz. Please, take notes. (I’m sorry that there will be no photos. You don’t expect a blog about Tax Collecting to have PHOTOS do you?)
This is what a township tax collector with a quarter century of experience does. Especially if she’s the treasurer of a tiny itsy bitty township with 482 citizens (make that about 1,600 – 1,700 parcels) during the last few days before taxes are due.
She gets home from her other job at 3:40 and gathers the nine million tax envelopes from the mailbox. OK, sorry, she has a tendency to exaggerate in her attempt to tell an interesting story. She grabs the 30-40 envelopes from the mailbox and tramps into the house. Turns on the computer (with its tax program) in case taxpayers call to inquire breathlessly, “How much do I OWE? And will you accept it if the envelope is postmarked by September 14th?”
Yes. I accept postmark. Just send your property taxes here, stamped by the kindly post office employee, by tomorrow. If you wait past then…you will be assessed a whopping 1% penalty per month. If you can afford it, then do what you want. Pay in March if you like…after the winter taxes are due…and the delinquents are collected by the county treasurer. It’s all up to you.
Today I lay on the couch (OK, after quickly checking email) and put da feet up in the air. That’s because we bought a couch which is too short a few years back. My beloved husband lay on the couch in the store and announced, “Yep, the couch is long enough!” I believed him. Until arriving home and lying on the beautiful new couch. It was nowhere near long enough. If you put the head flat on the pillow, the feet stick way up in the air and over the end. Lesson #2585 in life: lie on the couch yourself before you purchase it.
But I prevaricate. Where was I?
Ahh, yes, feet in the air, snoozing.
The phone rings.
A taxpayer, of course.
“Can I come over and pay taxes?”
“Yes, of course. When will you be here?”
“About a half hour.”
“Great, see you then. By the way, do you know where we’re located?”
“I know where you live,” she said.
Hmmm…well we don’t have long to ponder who this might be.
Another taxpayer arrives with check in hand.
“How old is your Studebaker?” he asks, peering at the old car in the woods.
“I have no idea,” I said, “but Barry is outside and he should know.”
He gets his receipt and departs. I see him and Barry in deep conversation in the driveway when, suddenly, up pulls a police car!
Who might THIS be? Don’t we have enough excitement happening this afternoon?
Ahhh….the police car is the first taxpayer.
She comes in the house with her guns and uniform and “POLICE” in big letters on her back. This is certainly some excitement for the household.
She wants to know what might happen if she doesn’t pay her taxes. Double hmmm…. It’s a unique situation, not your usual tax situation. I advise her to call the assessor, the county, anyone but me!
“I think it’s a new state ruling,” I suggest, trying desperately to recall details.
She leaves. I wonder why and how the police officer knew where we lived.
Barry comes in, grinning.
Turns out the second taxpayer–no, no, was that the first taxpayer? I am confused now–is good friends with his childhood neighbor, a guy who lives over 500 miles away. Is this a small world or WHAT? Barry then proceeds to call his parents and share the exciting details.
I retire to the computer with my magic scanner and start beeping at the bar codes. Entering check numbers. Backing up data. Manually recording it in the tax book.
Ahhh…the excitement of Tax Collecting 101!
I am sure you would all love this job. You would.
Now, back to work. See you all when it’s done.
JUST KIDDING! Tax collecting is never done. Late summer payments will continue to trickle in until I send out the winter bills.
Have all you paid YOUR property taxes?
Be nice to your tax collector. Send her (OK, maybe him) sweet notes in with your checks. Letters are good. Cards are appreciated.
Remember: we tax collectors are human beings, too.
Now. For the quiz. How much penalty per month if you’re late? If your tax bill is $100.00 and you don’t pay until November…how much do you owe?