Local News

Condotta legislation to promote fairness, flexibility of property tax payments


Feb 19, 2014

Legislation that would give county treasurers more flexibility in accepting property tax payments passed the House of Representatives Monday, Feb. 17.

Rep. Cary Condotta prime-sponsored House Bill 2309 not only to give the county some options in receiving payments, but to provide some fairness to the property taxpayers by reducing penalties and interest.

“We have seen a number of people become delinquent on their property taxes during unfortunate circumstances, such as the recession. The penalties and interest increase so quickly it is nearly impossible for taxpayers to get out from under their mounting debt,” said Condotta, R-East Wenatchee. “This legislation attempts to rein in some of penalties, and at the same time, give the county treasurers some leeway in how to handle property tax payments.”

The legislation would:

  • apply interest and penalties to only the unpaid balance of property tax, instead of current law where interest and penalties is applied to full-year amount.
  • allow a county treasurer to waive interest and penalties on delinquent property taxes where a taxpayer paid the incorrect amount due to apparent taxpayer error and the taxpayer pays the delinquent taxes within 30 days of receiving notice that the taxes are due.
  • allow a county treasurer to accept partial payment of current and delinquent property taxes, including interest and penalties.

“I also have heard from constituents who have made even the slightest error on their payment of a dollar or two, but by state law, the county treasurer is required to return the full payment,” Condotta said.

Condotta is also the prime sponsor of House Bill 2146 which modifies the appeal bond amount for appeals of penalties to the Department of Labor and Industries.

“I became aware that to appeal a $150 penalty with the department you had to pay a $200 appeal bond. With small penalty levels and a high appeal cost, people just don’t appeal.” Condotta said. “This bill will give people more reasonable access to appeal without encouraging frivolous appeals.”

House Bill 2146 changes the appeal amount to 10 percent of the penalty amount, or $200, whichever is less, subject to a $100 minimum.

 


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