12 INVESTIGATES: Personal property tax late fees - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

12 INVESTIGATES: Personal property tax late fees

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmonders are angry at the city once again over issues with tax notifications. Many say they never got the original personal property tax bills back in April but are now getting mailings with hefty late fees.

NBC12 viewers called and tweeted us wondering how in the world this is possible. The delinquent notices charging the late fees are due in about ten days and they don't think they should be responsible for the payments if the city made the mistake.

The angry red bar at the top of the delinquent notice screams: "past due bill information."

"When it came with a late fee I was like 'Wait a second, I never received the first one to have a late fee,'" Melissa McDonald recalled.

She commiserated with dozens of friends who are finding themselves in the same situation---seemingly responsibly for a late fee that could add up to big bucks.

"That's a tank of gas," McDonald explained. "That's maybe somebody doesn't get a Christmas present. It means I can't do something for myself that I want to do."

The letter has scared some people. It says if you don't pay the bill by December 17th, the city could withhold your car registration and your state tax refund and send your bill over to a collection agency.

"I don't know if it's the city or the mail system but somewhere there's miscommunication and then it's reflected on me," McDonald said.

We took the complaints to the city's finance department. It switched print and mail vendors in the beginning of November and has updated thousands of addresses. We're told it would be difficult to pinpoint why a specific bill was not received, but city staff will work with citizens.

Still, there is one concern on everyone's minds: whether or not these people will have to pay the late fee.

"It depends on the circumstances," said Operations Manager Kevin Ervin. "In some cases they will. In some cases the city may have an option for them."

For more information and to find out if you have to pay the fee, you can call the city's 311 line or go down to City Hall to speak to someone in the finance department.

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