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Hall collects $83K in amnesty tax program
Penalties, interest fees waived on delinquent property tax bills
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An amnesty period for delinquent Hall County property tax bills corralled payments for 40 properties, nearly half of which hadn't paid taxes for more than one year.

Tax Commissioner Keith Echols says the county collected nearly $83,000 in taxes that, until August of this year, hadn't been paid.

The tax collections came as a result of a proposal from Commissioner Ashley Bell, who offered amnesty from penalties and interest to property owners who owed property taxes from 2009 and previous years if they paid all their back taxes in August.

Bell's proposal came at a time when commissioners were considering how to bridge an $11.5 million gap between revenues and government expenses and was an effort to scrape together as much county revenue as possible.

Nearly 25 property owners took the carrot, some paying bills on multiple properties, minus the penalties and interest incurred on their late bills.

A report Echols offered to the Hall County Board of Commissioners at Monday's work session showed $29,786.74 had been waived in penalties and interest during the month of August.

In one instance, the county waived more $9,370.60 for a property owner who had not paid county property taxes for five years.

Without the burden of penalties and interest, the property owner repaid more than $17,900 in back taxes, according to the report.

A number of the delinquent property owners cited reduced work hours or no work at all as the reason they had not paid property taxes. Others claimed high debt and medical problems kept them from paying.

The commission will vote on Thursday to approve the waivers along with two other applications for penalty refunds: one for the owner of Rabbittown Properties, Tom Bower, who owes more than $1,400 in penalties and interest; and another for Scott and Nancy Powell, who requested a refund of $473.12.

Both property owners claimed their bills were sent to the wrong address.


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