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Hall tax amnesty earns $99K but few takers
Goal was to bring in portion of county's $3.2M in uncollected taxes
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Hall County officials took in $99,031 in overdue taxes by offering to waive penalty and interest fees on past-due property tax bills.

The tax amnesty period, which ran the month of August, was in response to an $11.5 million budget shortfall in the county's general operating fund.

Commissioners' goal was to bring in a portion of the county's $3.2 million in uncollected taxes.

Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell said the commission felt it needed to do everything it could to "help fill in some of the holes in the budget."

Yet only 28 people applied for the program.

"A lot of people didn't take advantage of it for whatever reason," Tax Commissioner Keith Echols said.

The program was meant to be mutually beneficial to taxpayers and the county. One taxpayer saved almost $10,000 in penalty fees.

"It was a success since it didn't cost us anything and it put $100,000 in the county coffers," Bell said.

He said taxpayers should not look forward to it being offered again next year.

"It was a one-time deal," Bell said.

Bell said the idea hadn't been tried before and he has been contacted by other jurisdictions who are now considering offering amnesty.

"Just goes to show there are some ideas out there that don't cost anything to bring in revenue," Bell said.

He said he hopes to see some of the funds collected be distributed to the Community Service Center for the Meals on Wheels and Red Rabbit programs.

 

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