By RICK NORTON
Anyone waiting until the last minute to sign up for the partial payment program for 2018 property taxes in Bradley County is rapidly approaching that moment.Enrollment deadline is Friday, and the …
Anyone waiting until the last minute to sign up for the partial payment program for 2018 property taxes in Bradley County is rapidly approaching that moment.
Enrollment deadline is Friday, and the last allowable minute is 4:59 p.m.
Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith, who worked with his staff to launch the installment-payment program in 2010, said participant numbers continue to grow. At last report, 1,436 county taxpayers — representing parcels of property — are registered in the program.
"The increased enrollment has raised our estimated cash rollover amount for October 2018 by $6,000," Smith said. "The amount we roll over each October assists the mayor's office, as they track required cash flow for all county departments."
Earlier this year, Smith projected the program could include as many as 1,440 enrollees by the end of the second enrollment period. For each tax year, two enrollment sessions are held: the first spans several weeks from late November to mid-December, and the second kicks off in early January and continues through early to mid-February.
“For 2018 taxes, we’ve enrolled a lot of Bradley County citizens who are new to the partial payment program,” Smith said. “For those who haven’t signed up, but who have been considering it, they have until the closing of our office doors on Friday.”
The partial payment plan has become a heavily publicized option by the Trustee’s Office because of its unique approach to paying property taxes.
In the past, these taxes were always paid in a single, lump-sum amount once each year. However, eight years ago the Trustee’s Office — thanks to approval by the Office of the Tennessee Comptroller and the Bradley County Commission — launched partial payment that provides an installment alternative.
Under the rules of the program, taxpayers are allowed to negotiate a payment frequency: monthly, quarterly or biannually, or whatever pattern best fits the taxpayer’s cash flow. In most cases, partial payment enrollees choose the monthly option.
“Many of our participants are elderly taxpayers who no longer have the same spending power because they live on a fixed income,” Smith said. “It is for this group of citizens that partial payment can be most helpful.”
He added, “But it is certainly not limited to the elderly. People’s lives change, their circumstances change. This often impacts their spending power and their cash availability. They’re happy to meet their tax obligations, but they understand that now they need options in how to pay their taxes.”
Local residents signing up for partial payment may pay their taxes by check, credit card, debit card, cash or automatic withdrawal. Residents can pay their taxes by sending personal checks in the mail or by visiting the trustee’s temporary office currently located in the former SouthEast Bank building at the corner of 17th and Keith streets.
The first payments on 2018 property taxes for partial payment enrollees will be March 15.
Details about the partial payment program, or other tax-related initiatives, can be obtained by visiting the Trustee’s office or by calling 423-728-7248.
Trustee’s Office hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
Two additional tax programs offered by the Trustee’s Office include the tax freeze and tax relief options. Information about each can be obtained by contacting the Trustee’s Office.
“We encourage our Bradley County citizens, who need these types of options, to take part in these tax programs,” Smith said. “As we in this office have said before, and we’ll keep saying it, the partial payment program is good for Bradley County citizens. And if it’s good for our citizens, then it’s good for Bradley County.”
The next enrollment period for the partial payment program will begin in November. This signup will be for 2019 property taxes.
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