Tax deadline looms for property owners
GREENWICH — The tax man has come to collect and Greenwich residents face a Wednesday deadline to get in their payments for property and vehicle taxes.
All payments must be made on or before Aug. 1 or else interest will be charged on the amount that is still owed. Tax bills were mailed out to all residents in late June but the last minute rush to make payments is expected.
Tax Collector Howard Richman on Monday said his office is prepared for the surge.
“We’re monitoring the lines as they happen in real time,” Richman said. “We have three people at the window if we need it. Usually we have two with someone working in the back but if we have to have the third person go up we will do it. … We are expecting it because you always expect it because people wait until the last minute.”
The Tax Collector’s Office will be open during regular hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for anyone looking to make their payment in person. Additionally, people can mail their payments in. As long as a payment is postmarked on or before Aug. 1, it will not be considered late.
Residents also are encouraged to make payments through the town’s website. By visiting www.greenwichct.org and going to the tax collector’s page under “government” people can make an electronic funds transfer to pay their tax bill 24 hours a day, for which they will be charged a “convenience fee” of 95 cents. All electronic payments must be made by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 1 in order to avoid interest penalties.
People who pay online via credit card face a fee of 2.95 percent, which is paid to the credit card company, not the town.
Currently there are four full-time staff members in the tax collector’s office, including Richman. The level of staffing has been a topic of much discussion in recent years, ever since the Board of Estimate and Taxation cut the budget for the office under previous tax collector, Tod Laudonia, which resulted in two staff members being moved from to other town positions.
“We’re doing the best we can given the circumstances,” Richman said. “We could always use more staff. I think all 12 members of the BET are aware of the tax collector’s wishes to have one more full-time position here. I will continue to work with them however I have to.”
Richman said a part-time employee’s hours have been switched to allow them to essentially work a full-time schedule since the beginning of July to deal with the payments coming in through the month. One temporary, part-time employee is also on staff.
Richman said his department has streamlined the process by having the payments that are mailed in go directly to the processing center in New Britain the town uses and not to Town Hall first.
If people wish to send their tax payments to Town Hall to be processed, they can still do that.
People who do not make their tax payments will be subject to interest at the rate of one and a half percent a month. Richman said people who get their tax payments in Aug. 2 will face a three percent interest fee because the interest will cover both July and August.