The City of Oak Ridge announced today that all property tax bills have been mailed and should have been delivered to property owners for this year. Taxes go to support the operation of many City services- from street maintenance to the library. The Police and Fire Departments refuse removal and disposal, recreation and parks, and many other City activities are all supported by the property tax. A portion of the tax also goes to support the Oak Ridge School system. The Business Office is ready for the annual rush, according to Manager Marlene Witt. “Paying taxes is no one’s favorite thing to do,” she said. “With trained, helpful staff and specialists who can answer your detailed questions, we hope to make the task, if not pleasant, at least as painless as possible.”
According to Ms. Witt, many citizens pay their property taxes directly, while taxes for others are paid through an escrow account associated with their mortgage. “Both groups get a notice of tax due, however, it remains the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the taxes are paid,” she said.
This year the City is also preparing to accept credit cards for the first time for property tax payments. Available by July 1, Visa and MasterCard payments will be accepted at the business office counter. There will be 3% convenience fee for using credit cards, the proceeds of which will be used to offset the cost of the program, including cost incurred by the City through the credit card companies. “We have had many requests that we take credit card payments for property tax,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “The surcharge will enable us to accept these payments without negatively affecting those who use traditional payment methods.”City staff cautions that a relatively small number of property owners may not receive a tax notice. There are several reasons that this might happen. For example, by law, property tax bills are mailed to the owner of record as of January 1st; the property may have changed hands since that date, the new owner may not receive the notice. In other cases mailing addresses change and, of course, other delivery problems also occur.
Regardless of the ability of the business office to deliver the notice, it is still the responsibility of the property owner to make the payment in a timely manner. If someone has not received a tax bill by now, they should contact the City's business office immediately. The last day to make full tax payments without penalty is July 31. Penalties start to accrue on August 1. Further information is available through the City's website at www.oakridgetn.gov. The tax specialist at the City can be reached at (865) 425-3404.