Richmond making major changes to real estate tax

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – By the end of the week, anyone who owns a home in the city will get a green flyer in the mail. It's a reminder, that in just five months, half of your real estate taxes for 2011 will be due.

For the first time since the 1960's, half of your property taxes in Richmond will be due in January. The city is taking your total real estate bill and dividing it in two. In 2011 you have pay property taxes to the city in January and June.

"You don't have that one lump payment that you typically would have in the June time period," said Richmond's Chief Administrative Officer of Finance, Marcus Jones.

Which is why the city is putting this flyer in the mail this week; to remind taxpayers the change is coming and to help them prepare.

"You don't want to get a bill in January and say, 'what's this. I'm used to getting it in June.' So, what's important now is to set up the program, get the message out. So we can help the residents adjust to this new change," said Jones.

45% of taxpayers in Richmond have an escrow account and won't notice the change, but 55% of taxpayers will get hit with a bill, come January. If you don't have an escrow account, the city wants you to know, you have options. You can fill out an online application and start making payments towards your January bill, now.

The move to this system is expected to save the city $1.7-million a year, because the city would no longer have to borrow money.

"Borrowing money to make payroll. Not going to do that. This is going to help with the cash flow," said Jones.

Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover already have semi-annual tax payments. The first real estate tax payment for city residents is due January 14. You'll get your bill in December. For more information on the city's payment program call 804-646-7000.

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