Johnson City property taxes due on Tuesday

Gary B. Gray • Dec 27, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Johnson City property taxes for 2013 are due Tuesday.

Postmarks of Dec. 31 or earlier will be honored, but penalty and interest will begin to accrue Jan. 2.

“I know we’re going to have long lines on the 30th and 31st, so I would just make sure people know they can drop it in the drop box anytime before that deadline,” Collections Specialist Mary Hylton said. “People also need to make sure they bring a copy of their tax notice. It speeds things up quite a bit. We also have a drop box outside, but it will be emptied at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31.”

There is a charge for online payments of 2.75 percent of the first $300 owed and 3 percent for payments due over $300.

“The monthly penalty is 1.5 percent of the amount owed, and the monthly interest is the prime rate plus one times 12,” Hylton said. “So the total monthly penalty and interest on the amount owned would be 1.85 percent.”

The city is not responsible for remittance errors made by banks, mortgage companies or taxpayers and therefore cannot waive penalties and interest resulting from such errors, she said.

Johnson City’s rate is $1.58 per $100 assessed value.

The Washington County assessor of property does not set the tax rate. That is done by city and county boards and commissions. Washington County residents living within the Johnson City or Jonesborough municipal boundaries pay both a county and city property tax.

When the assessor’s office reappraises property, an owner’s tax bill could go up or down depending on the new value, but that is not the same as setting the tax rate.

The county conducts regular reappraisals every five years, to make sure the assessed values of citizens’ property remain in line with their market values. The next reappraisal is scheduled for 2014.

Property tax is widely known as “the tax of last resort.”

The last sales tax hike in Washington County was approved in May 1994, when city and county school officials joined in a push for passage of a county-wide referendum. That successful campaign raised the local options sales tax from 2.25 percent to the current 2.50 percent. The referendum’s margin of victory was 1,512 votes with nearly 12,000 votes cast.

Further attempts in 2000 and 2004 were heartily thumped by more than 2-1 margins.

Currently, the state keeps 7 percent of Washington County’s 9.5 percent sales tax rate. The local rate is 2.5 percent but would rise to a maximum 2.75 percent if increased, bringing the total sales tax rate to 9.75 — the maximum currently allowed by state law.

Taxes may be paid at the Municipal and Safety Building, 601 E. Main St., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Payments also can be made online at www.johnsoncitytn.org or may be mailed to the City of Johnson City, P.O. Box 2227, Johnson City, TN 37605.

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