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Tax amnesty deadline set for Wednesday
Hall County offers to waive fees and interest on back taxes
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Apply for tax amnesty

Through Wednesday, Hall County residents can apply to  have fees and interest waived on taxes they owe from the mid-1980s through 2009. For more information, contact the tax commissioner’s office at 770-531-6950.

Hall County's delinquent taxpayers have until Wednesday to apply for amnesty.

Since Aug. 1, county officials have been offering forgiveness on penalties and interest accrued on property tax bills from the mid-1980s to 2009.

So far, fewer than 20 taxpayers have asked county officials to waive those fees, said Hall County Tax Commissioner Keith Echols.

The month of amnesty was an idea of Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell, who, in the midst of the board's deliberations on ways to shore up an $11.5 million revenue shortfall, suggested that the county seek out ways to bring in uncollected revenue.

At the time, Bell said he hoped the offer of amnesty would help bring in at least a portion of the county's $3.2 million in uncollected taxes.

He said the monthlong offer would both benefit the county, which needed extra revenue, and the delinquent taxpayer, whose tax burden would seem lighter without the weight of penalties and accrued interest.

To be eligible for the waiver, one must pay the principal amount on all delinquent county taxes by the end of this month. The taxpayer must also be able to show "reasonable cause" for the late payment.

One taxpayer who took the bait ended up ponying up the money for property taxes dating back to 2005, Echols said.
On Thursday, that taxpayer delivered a $26,000 check to the tax commissioner's office.

"The waiver's going to help them by about $10,000," Echols said.

Echols will review the waiver requests and present them at the board's Oct. 13 meeting. The commission has final say on whether the waiver will be approved.

Anyone interested in a waiver should contact the tax commissioner's office at 770-531-6950.