What you need to know about your property tax bills

By General Councilor Rolando Lavarro

Your third quarter tax bill is due October 6th, and I would like to warn all taxpayers to make your payments on time, and not even a day late, unless you want to be charged an unfair amount of interest charges which, frankly, are not your fault. Taxpayers have pulled the short end of the stick, and here’s why.

Your third and fourth quarter tax bills are due less than a month apart.

On or about September 17, most Jersey City property taxpayers received the third quarter tax bill in the mail. Although your third quarter tax bill is due on October 6, it should normally have been due on August 1, but the [Fulop] The administration has withheld your tax bills citing budget approvals and state authorization of the tax rate. In the past, the city would have issued estimated tax bills if the city budget had not passed, but the administration voluntarily withheld your tax bill for two months. With your fourth quarter tax bills due in November, the administration sees no problem, nor does it care that your third and fourth quarter tax bills are due just under a month away. interval.

There is no grace period.

On the back of your invoice, under the heading “PAYMENT OF TAXES”, it is indicated:

There is a 10 day grace period, which means we must receive your payment at our office no later than the 10the February, May, August and November …

Jersey City taxpayers would normally be given a 10-day grace period to pay their tax bill, which means you could pay your taxes until August 10.e, if it was issued on August 1st, without being charged interest for late payment. The administration has not issued estimated tax invoices in 2021, as has been done in the past; on the contrary, the publication of the bills was delayed pending the adoption of the budget by the Council and the approvals of the State.

What is important to know is that this deadline was a choice, not a requirement. By delaying the issuance of the third quarter tax bill, the due date for payment of the invoice is postponed to October 6; corn THERE IS NO PERIOD OF GRACE. State law does not allow the grace period when the bill has been delayed the way the administration did. If you are used to having this grace period, know that you have no margin for error. You have to pay your taxes on time by October 6th.

Higher interest charges may await you.

But losing the grace period isn’t all you need to know. On the back of your tax bill under “INTEREST CHARGES”, the instructions are as follows:

Interest of 8% per year is charged on the first $ 1,500 of default and 18% per year on the amount over $ 1,500. Your account will remain at the 18% threshold until it is refreshed. Interest accrues daily.

Due to the late issuance of the invoice, you could be hit harder than you think if your payment is late. If you received your bill on September 16 and pay your bill one day late, you can reasonably expect to pay 20 to 25 days of interest charges – interest from the time you receive your bill (September 16) until the day you pay your bill. taxes (one day after October 6). It would appear to be a reasonable assumption. But this is not the case. If you pay your bill late, you will be billed daily interest charges from August 1 even if you did not have your invoice in hand or electronically.

The elderly and the most vulnerable could be the most affected.

In 2019 and 2020, anticipating that the budget would not pass before New Jersey’s statutory deadline for third quarter tax bills, the administration released estimated tax bills with council approval, this which means that the third quarter tax bills for those years were issued on August 1 with a grace period until August 10.

Along with the tax bill from the end of the third quarter, taxpayers also received a letter from the mayor proclaiming that “we are delivering a budget that WILL REDUCE TAXES for every resident of Jersey City”. Some taxpayers contacted me and asked if the invoices had been delayed just so that the propaganda could be inserted, as such a claim cannot be made with “estimated taxes”. Others took it a step further by facetiously asking me if it was permissible to have a “taxpayer-funded campaign ad”.

Whatever the administration’s motivations, what concerns me are the impacts. During the September 20 council caucus, I noted that, like many homeowners, I automated the payment of property taxes electronically through the mortgage company or the bank. We are unlikely to be affected by the loss of a grace period or the unfair interest charges accruing daily from August 1st. However, some depend on paper bills, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Many elderly homeowners have paid off their mortgages. They may not have a bank or mortgage company that automatically pays their bill. Our fixed income seniors could be affected by the decision to delay taxes if they end up getting hammered with the daily accumulation of late payment interest charges.

Taxpayers deserve better.

During the recent council caucus, I questioned the foresight and fairness that guided the decision to issue tax bills at the end of the third quarter. At the same caucus, Ward E Ward Councilor James Solomon suggested that the administration seek a waiver from the state’s Local Government Services Division on interest charges for the period in question. I support such a waiver and will continue to pressure the administration, city council and state to do everything in our power to minimize the adverse effects resulting from the ill-conceived decision to issue invoices. tax at the end of the third quarter.

The bottom line.

Jersey City taxpayers should know that there is no grace period. If you are late, you will be assessed an unfair amount of interest dating back to August 1. It is not stated in your invoice or in the letter from the mayor, but you deserve to know it. Please let others know, and let’s continue to look after each other. We are all in there.,

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