The County Cubicle: County property tax due April 30

Editor’s note: In an effort to keep residents informed on happenings within county government, county employees will contribute biweekly articles for “The County Cubicle.”
These articles may include responses to reader questions or expression of interest. Readers are encouraged to submit questions or suggestions to County Administrator Pat Hooker at 878-9436 or phooker@co.rio-blanco.co.us

Everyone knows federal and state income tax returns wee due April 15, but did you know your Rio Blanco County property taxes are due April 30?
While few like paying taxes, the good news is that all property taxpayers have payment options. The first-half payment is always due by Feb. 28. If you missed that deadline or have the need to pay later, you can still pay the first-half payment amount, plus interest.
How much interest might you have to pay? Here’s a simplified example. If you pay the first half in May and your first-half payment is $300, the interest (1 percent per month) would only be an additional $9. Some taxpayers can better afford to make this payment later in the year with the interest amount not being a hardship. Partial payments, other than the first- and second-half installments cannot be accepted. However, the timing of a payment can be adjusted.
Taxpayers are encouraged to pay their property taxes in full by Aug. 1. After this date, the treasurer’s office starts the tax lien sale process, and fees add up quickly. A $25 tax billing can rapidly become $100 with the addition of advertising fees, interest and distraint fees. Distraint fees are those fees paid to secure legal documents on personal property and mobile homes prohibiting movement of the property until taxes are paid. Don’t let this happen to you.
Unfortunately, the state of Colorado canceled the senior citizen exemption this year. There is hope for the future. State officials are predicting the senior exemption may be reinstated in two years.
Caution … homeowners with mortgage payments should verify whether your mortgage company will be paying your property taxes before you attempt to pay any portion of them. This saves the county from issuing refunds or returning your check. Need help? Call 878-9660.