CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa-- Home owners in Linn County have less time to pay their property taxes this year. That's because the bills arrived in the mail late.
Each year property taxes are due on September 1st, that's no surprise to home homers. The problem, no one knew how much to pay because the bills weren't sent out until August 30th, and didn't start arriving in mailboxes until the third; two days after the check was due.
We asked the county treasurer, why there was a delay in mailing the bills. Sharon Gonzalez says figuring up the property taxes is a lengthy process that starts with state setting the levy, then it's on to the assessors. Information such as exemptions, deed changes, and new purchases for the past year all have to be figured in before the bills are sent to the auditor for certification.
"They won't release that information until they are sure it's right. Once certified it rolls to the treasurer we can get files ready, send to vendor, have them create the bill, make sure it's accurate, the information is right, then to the public," said Gonzalez.
This year the Auditors office certified the property tax bills on August 19th. Technically the treasurer has 30 days from then to mail them, it took eleven. We asked why they don't start the process sooner or push back the due date. We were told there's so many factors involved it's difficult to estimate exactly how long the entire process will take. As for the due date, that's set in code and can't be changed.
Even though the due date is the first, as long as the payment is postmarked by September 30th no penalties will be accessed..
The county is in the process of implementing a new system to create tax bills, which would replace the current system built in the 1970's. This should speed up the process ensuring bills are mailed on time in the future.