Penalties and interest on property taxes that were due on Dec. 20 will be waived on payments received through 5 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 8.

The decision, approved by commissioners on Monday night, was made after the Tax Commissioner’s office had to close briefly during the busy “grace period” for paying taxes.

Tax Commissioner Jason Grimes, who took office Jan. 1, explained to commissioners that during the week of New Year’s, the office was closed before lunch on Tuesday and did not open until after 3 p.m. on Wednesday due to COVID protocols and then the office closed at noon on Thursday for New Year’s.

Additionally, Grimes said, for various reasons there was a shortage of personnel in the office in December, which has led to payments received by mail not being processed. 

Typically, the grace period on interest and penalties ends on Dec. 31 and charges are assessed in January. The county’s vote on Monday authorized Grimes to waive those fees. 

During the meeting, Grimes also announced that the office will be closed on Jan. 14-15 for training and software upgrades for the motor vehicle system. 

Those who owe the “birthday tax” during this time are reminded that the office will be closed and they should prepare to pay in advance. This is important in the event of a traffic stop in order to have current registration on record. However, commissioners agreed that penalties and interest can be waived if “birthday tax” payments are not received until Tuesday, Jan. 19.

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