Clay County's hope to potentially send out property tax bills on time may have been shot to bits.
The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) has officially decided to redesign the Property Tax Comparison Statement. This will replace the previously approved version of the form, along with the tax bills for the 2007 pay 2008 year.
"It has put a hitch in when we had hoped to get our property tax bills out this year," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said. "We are on the brink of verifying property values to be sent off for state approval, and it had looked like we would have been able to get the bills out on time for only the second time since 2002."
Alumbaugh said the new design for the statements, which is not part of a change in legislation, has not been completed and it could take a few weeks for the DLGF to complete it. From there, the DLGF has to send the design to software designers who have to rewrite a portion of the current computer system before the bills could go out.
"It can be a drawn out process," she said. "We may consider releasing a provisional billing, but we are not sure about that at this time."
One problem which could arise with a provisional billing is the amount to be paid may not be accurate. Typically, provisional bills are based off the previous year's assessment values.
"Because we will have to wait on the state to send us our tax rates, it is possible they could wait until the new statement design is completed before sending the rates," Alumbaugh said. "Essentially, we have gone from having a good idea when we could send out property tax bills to now having it up in the air. However, we are still hopeful the process will be done quickly and still have two collections this year."
The standard date for the first collection of property taxes is May 10. Last year, because of trending, Clay County was unable to send tax bills until August and held one collection date in November.
"Regardless of when we get the chance to send the bills out, it must be at least 15 days before the first due date," Alumbaugh said.
Also, even with a potential delay in sending out this year's tax bills, the deadline to file for exemptions on next year's bill remains June 10.
"It is important for residents to remember that a big qualifier for many of the exemptions is you must have the property ownership in your name by March 1, 2007, for the 2008 pay 2009 tax year," she said. "It is sort of a way of planning ahead for the upcoming year."
The last-minute changes are something the county has come to expect.
"Once again we are playing a waiting game," Alumbaugh said. "We've just about got everything done on our end and just have to see what happens next."
For questions about property tax bills or exemptions, contact the Clay County Auditor's Office at 448-9001.