The timely mail-in payment of county residents’ property tax bills during the COVID-19 pandemic has become more difficult. County residents are being told by the county billing office that payments not received by one of the county cashiers by September 30 will be “delinquent on October 1,” and that “Anne Arundel County cannot be responsible for delays in the mail.”
Recognizing the financial hardship taxpayers are facing, the Internal Revenue Service delayed the required payment of federal income taxes this year for three months until July 15.
A similar accommodation should be made for county taxpayers, who should not be penalized for late payments caused by dilatory mail services, especially if the taxpayer can provide evidence of a payment made In a timely manner.
The county tax bills this year include a return address envelope using a post office address in Baltimore City (P.O. Box 17003). Employees in the County Finance Office have advised that a return envelope with a county address might result in a faster processing time for the tax payments.
Some residents understandably want confirmation of their tax payments and prefer to pay online for this purpose. If a taxpayer opts for this payment method, his/her account is charged “a convenience fee,” but the specific amount of the fee is not included on the county bill.
If, for example, a taxpayer chooses to pay an annual property tax bill of $2,000, the “convenience fee” is approximately $45, which is substantially more than the processing fee for semi-annual payments noted on the bill.
The Pittman Administration has informed me that the Chief Administrative Officer and the Budget and Finance Directors have been asked to review my recommendations regarding property tax payments. Hopefully, county taxpayers will receive word of some relief.
John R. Leopold
Former Anne Arundel County Executive