Pay now if you want the discount
April 15 — the deadline for the property tax rebate — is approaching as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
Some landlords like to pay their taxes by dropping off the payment to the tax collector in person. But that’s not possible this year.
Tax collectors, like in the township of East Hopewell, had to cancel their scheduled public tax collection dates. Sending payment is another option.
Anyone wishing to pay the discount amount must write a check and mail it in the middle of the month. The deadline remains, according to York County Commissioners.
“Our understanding is that counties and municipalities do not have the ability to change the percentages associated with the remission period,” York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler said at the commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday. “And so we can safely say that the discount period will remain as it is.”
The county is working with city leaders and tax collectors to discuss options with the penalty portion of the bill, Wheeler said.
Meanwhile, the City of York has extended the deadline for the municipal portion of property taxes, Mayor Michael Helfrich said. The new deadline is May 15.
“It may be in violation of the tax code, but it’s the right thing to do,” the mayor said.
City property owners received separate bills this year: one from the City of York and one from York County.
The county bill – the blue one – must be paid by April 15 to qualify for the discount. The city’s bill – the yellow one – can wait until May 15.
The city believes the extension is “a great benefit to the ratepayers of the City of York,” Helfrich said.
Some residents have faced financial hardship due to the pandemic.
York County Attorney Michelle Pokrifka said under state law, they believe counties can’t change dates or deadlines, but they can change percentages.
The commissioners are considering options and tabled the matter on Wednesday. The county hopes to make a decision within a month for residents and tax collectors, Commissioner Doug Hoke said.
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The tax bill coverage period is from April 16 to June 15. The 10% penalty amount takes effect June 16 and runs through the end of the year.
County Administrator Mark Derr said the amount of the penalty can be set between zero and 10%.
By paying earlier, before April 15, you get a 2% discount.
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The question is whether the amount of the penalty would change during the penalty period, Derr said.
The county has reached out to municipalities and received contributions from local governments and tax collectors, Derr said. However, a consensus was not reached.
“…we would like to try to build some of that consensus and not make a…premature decision on the sanction,” he said.
Some municipalities have said they will follow York County’s lead on whether to collect property taxes on time this spring.
“The township will follow the county’s lead,” Shrewsbury Township Manager Todd Zeigler said recently.
“We want to assure the public that this is a priority, and…we’ve heard from all of you, and we take this very seriously,” Wheeler said.
Teresa Boeckel is a suburban life reporter in central Pennsylvania. Contact her at [email protected] or 717-495-0998.