Tax Extenstions

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Tyrrell County Board of Commissioners and the Columbia Board of Aldermen on January 16 extended the deadlines for paying 2017 property taxes without penalty or interest.

The boards’ actions came after county offices were closed January 4 and 5 and town offices were open on a reduced schedule following a 3-4-inch snowfall and four-day freeze January 4-8.

State law prescribes that property taxes not paid by Friday, January 5, would immediately accrue a two-percent penalty and interest at 0.75% monthly until paid.

Moving the tax penalty and interest deadline was not without risk.

Waiving the deadline is prohibited by the statute, “even if a state of emergency is declared by the governor or by a local government,” stated Chris McLaughlin, tax specialist with the UNC School of Government.

If someone successfully sued the county or town for illegally moving the deadline, the commissioners and aldermen could be held personally responsible, he pointed out.

However, McLaughlin contends that the “spirit” of the law allows moving the deadline for compelling reasons because it authorizes a change in the event the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday.

And it was in that spirit that the commissioners and aldermen on January 16 adopted retroactive resolutions to extend the deadline through January 9.