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It's in the mail (almost)

J. H. Osborne • Oct 14, 2018 at 1:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — If you own property in Sullivan County, you should soon receive your tax notice in the mail.

The county will begin mailing notices Monday, Trustee Susan Ramsey said.

To avoid interest and potential penalties, property owners must pay those taxes (which cover the period of Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018) by Feb. 28, 2019.

However, taxes are considered due upon receipt. And the sooner payments begin to roll in, the better for county government’s cash flow.

The county’s property tax rate is the same as last year ($2.55 per $100 of assessed value). This was not a reappraisal year, Ramsey noted, so there should’t be much change to your tax bill if you didn’t make improvements since last year.

But there is one change on your bill: It now includes a spot to submit your email address. Ramsey said this is to gauge interest from the public about potential paperless billing for property taxes in the future.

Property owners with questions about their bill must make inquiries with Ramsey’s office before the payment deadline.

The office also assists people with applications for and questions about a state program that provides tax relief for elderly or disabled property owners.

The requirements for the rebate program for taxes are:

— You owned and lived in the home as your main residence.

— You must be 65 years old on or before Dec. 31, 2018, or you must be totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or other qualified agency on or before Dec. 31, 2018.

— Income for all property owners for the year 2017 must be less than $29,270 total.

All those requirements must be met for participation in the tax rebate program.

A similar tax relief program is available to eligible 100 percent disabled veterans and their widows or widowers.

The trustee’s office at the historic Sullivan County Courthouse in Blountville is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Offices are also located at the Bristol Justice Center and at Kingsport City Hall, but with smaller staffs. Those offices will have new hours beginning Oct. 22, Ramsey said, to allow the staff at each ample time to complete administrative work before the buildings in which those offices are located close for the day. The Bristol office, where staff basically work through lunch, will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Kingsport office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ramsey said that although taxpayers are welcome to use any of the three offices, she encourages anyone with a problem to come to the Blountville office if possible. Ramsey said the same holds true for applicants and participants in the state’s tax relief program, noting the Blountville office’s larger size can provide more privacy.

Drop boxes are located at the Blountville and Kingsport offices.

To receive a receipt for payments put in drop boxes or mailed, taxpayers must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Online payments are accepted by visiting www.sullivancountytn.gov (click “Government” then “Trustee”).

Ramsey’s office also offers partial payment plans for property owners who want to pay their taxes in installments,  but the total must be paid in full by the deadline to avoid interest.

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