Editorial: Partial payment plan deadline is Friday!
Feb 06, 2014 | 687 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley County homeowners who live within a budget due to limited income or sporadic cash flow — or any number of reasons — are among those who can benefit most from an innovative property tax payment plan offered by the Trustee’s Office.

It’s called partial payment.

In short, it’s a method for paying property taxes by installment. Rather than waiting until Feb. 28 to make a single, far more intrusive “lump sum” payment, Bradley County residents have the option of designing their own plan.

Some divide their annual property tax payment amount by 12 and make these much smaller payments each month.

Some formulate a six-time payment plan in which a tax bill is paid every other month.

Some prefer quarterly payments; that is, four times a year.

Some like two payments a year every six months.

And other taxpaying diehards prefer putting it off for a year and paying the much higher lump sum.

The annual amount remains the same regardless of plan, whether the payments are made three times a year, four, six or 12 ... or just once. And there’s no interest charge.

Those who are enticed by the idea, but who don’t like change in their lives, should look at it as paying off a loan. In a financing package, the borrower works out a plan with the loaner based on how much he believes he can pay each month for a given length of time. In the case of a property tax partial payment plan, the term is 12 months. The question is how many payments would the taxpayer (or, borrower) like to make over a year in order to meet the tax commitment?

It’s up to the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s income. The Trustee’s Office will assist in any way possible to make the payment plan more affordable.

Bradley County residents are stepping up. As of late Tuesday, 656 were signed up for the partial payment plan.

So who is a good fit for this type of program?

Elderly retirees who no longer have the same spending power compared to their working years are prime candidates.

Residents who work only part time or in low-income jobs or who are underemployed might also consider this option.

Households whose primary provider has been laid off from his or her work should review this alternative plan.

Taxpayers who face rising medical bills due to a catastrophic illness or serious accident can benefit from smaller monthly installments.

Anyone who must watch every dollar, and who is struggling to hang onto a home and property, should seek out this program.

Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith, who brainstormed the idea after recognizing its communitywide need, reports his office staff can share property owners’ tax histories and offer suggestions. But, in the end the final decision rests with the taxpayer.

One big payment? Twelve smaller payments? Six manageable payments? It’s up to the taxpayer.

The partial payment plan for property taxes is as good a concept as it was a few years ago in its infancy. And here’s its biggest strength — it is “people friendly.” When was the last time that phrase was used in the same sentence as “government?”

As we have stressed in previous commentaries, the Bradley County Trustee’s Office is to be commended for this tax payment option.

America’s economy may truly be improving. But times are still tough, especially for blue collar workers who live modest lifestyles.

For those wanting to sign up for the property tax partial payment plan, we offer this advice: HURRY!

The deadline for the coming tax year is Friday. Your first payment won’t be due until March 15.

Questions? Call the Trustee’s Office at 728-7247.

But do it now.