Guest Column

County joins tax collection plan

Posted

This week, the commissioners invited me to write about the Tax Refund Exchange and Compliance System. I am pleased to have the opportunity to share the program information with you, so let’s dive right in.

It is our hope that joining the new program through the Association of Indiana Counties will help collect delinquent real estate and personal property taxes. In 2019, the Montgomery County Commissioners agreed to participate in TRECS, which was established in 2017 with state law (IC-6-8.1-0.5) giving Indiana local government agencies a new tool to aid with the collection of delinquent debt.

With the TRECS system, there is no fee charged to the county and little work is involved. We submit debts of at least $25 to the Indiana Department of Revenue, and they will intercept income tax refunds.

Once a taxpayer receiving a refund has been identified with delinquencies, they will receive a letter from the Montgomery County Treasurer informing them taxes are outstanding. They will then have 30 days to work with the treasurer and get them paid before their tax return is eligible to be garnished. Those payments can be made online or in the office.

Under the agreement, the garnishment will include an additional 15% fee of the money owed from each successful offset for the Department of Revenue’s administrative expenses and a $20 flat fee for the clearinghouse. The county will only take out the money that is owed, and any remainder will be sent on to the taxpayer. If the proper payment is made within the first 30 days, the taxpayer is not assessed the 15% penalty or $20 flat fee.

Counties, cities, towns and local schools are among the agencies which the program is designed to benefit. Our office may not be at the top of the list to cash in, but the program will benefit us, nonetheless. State government will be first in line to benefit, followed by child support, then universities, and then counties. The majority of Indiana counties are choosing to be a part of the program due to the benefits.

Montgomery County currently has 1,331 parcels, totaling $1,090,000.00, which are eligible for collection in the program. These are financial resources that are currently not available to fund county services including units of government like schools, police, fire, towns, and libraries. In order to check balances and other property details, taxpayers can research their parcel and current balances at www.beacon.schneidercorp.com. The liabilities due in 2020 will be in the system by April 1st and statements will be mailed by mid-April. The statements will include the payment coupon for the May 10 and Nov. 10 deadlines. Tax bills are only mailed one time each year.

As a reminder, partial or full payments are accepted anytime throughout the year, but appropriate penalties will apply if installments are not paid in full by the due date. Payment options include:

• Online payments at www.montgomerycounty.in.gov with e-check or credit card (service fee applies)

• Phone payments at 1-855-276-8051 (service fee applies)

• Mail payments to the Montgomery County Treasurer, 100 E Main St., Room 101, Crawfordsville

• Pay in person at the Treasurer’s Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• For one month leading up to each payment deadline, pay at local First Financial, Hoosier Heartland State Bank and Tri-County banks; taxpayers must bring their property tax statement and pay the full installment

To lower future property tax bills, many taxpayers are eligible for deductions, some of which include: The Homestead, Mortgage, Over 65, Blind and Disabled, Disabled Veteran and Geothermal. To check eligibility or to update an address, visit the Auditor’s link at www.montgomerycounty.in.gov.

If you have questions, we’re here to help.Contact the appropriate office:

• Tax payments, Treasurer at 765-364-6410;

• Deductions and address changes, Auditor at 765-364-6400;

• Assessed values, Assessor at 765-364-6420;

• Drainage fees, Surveyor at 765-361-3234.

 

Heather Laffoon is the Montgomery County Treasurer and can be reached at heather.laffoon@montgomerycounty.in.gov. And check out the Commish Facebook page @montgomerycountycommish.

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