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October

October

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October fright is here again — in the form of taxes

By CRAIG KAPITAN

Eagle Staff Writer

It’s that time of the year again, when area mailboxes seem a little more frightening than usual. Forget any notions of Halloween ghastliness — it’s worse. Taxes.

The Brazos County Tax Office started sending out more than 100,000 property tax bills this week for the past fiscal year.

Local landowners now have until either the end of January or the end of November, depending on the payment plan chosen, to ante up.

And don’t think because you didn’t get your bill you’re out of the woods, Tax Assessor-Collector Buddy Winn said. You didn’t really think camouflaging the mailbox or moving it to the back yard was going to help, did you?

Regardless of where the bill ends up, those in Brazos County have the same responsibility to follow the county’s “rigid” payment deadline, Winn reminded residents in a recent statement.

Tax officials are suggesting property owners take a few minutes to make sure the address on their bill is correct and that multiple property owners make sure they have received a bill for each location.

“We see this every year,” said the office’s chief deputy, Kristy Row, explaining that residents will accidentally turn the payment in a day late or claim they didn’t receive a bill. “It’s not unheard of that mail gets lost, but we have no way of knowing that.

“It’s not an excuse. Property ownership comes with a certain amount of responsibility.”

Residents can settle the entire bill by Jan. 31 or pay half by Nov. 30 and the other half by June 30.

Generally, Roe said, about 2 1/2 to 3 percent of the tax roll is delinquent throughout the year. It can be a costly mistake.

In the first month of delinquency, property owners are saddled with 6 percent penalty charges and 1 percent interest. The penalty and interest each are notched up by one percent every subsequent month until July, when the penalty fee is capped.

The interest, however, continues to accrue. In addition, if the payment isn’t made by the end of June a 15 percent fee is added for attorney fees.

“You dig a hole fast,” Roe said, explaining that by the end of the year one can be paying up to 36 percent of their original amount through penalty and interest charges.

To avoid the charges, she said, make sure bills are postmarked by the correct date. And if you don’t receive a bill by next week, check with the tax office by calling 361-4100 or visiting www.brazoscad.org.

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