Posted on VPR, 7/18/18 By Howard Weiss-Tisman – The Vermont Department of Taxes was not able to process all of the property tax adjustment claims in time to meet a July 1 deadline. As a result, towns that sent out their tax bills on that date may have sent the wrong information to property owners.
About 70 municipalities send out their tax bills on July 1, and Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom said municipal officials have been hearing from property owners who are noticing the problems on their tax bills.
“The towns that billed in July are probably not enjoying multiple calls for people thinking that the towns messed up their tax bills,” Samsom said. “We’re definitely regretful and apologize to the town officials that are having to deal with this. In the long term, we have more work to do to encourage more e-filing and get more accurate information on the intake and simplify the system for applying for, and qualifying for, property tax adjustments.”
Samsom says most of the problems have been within the homestead declarations, which is where property owners say whether they are full-time Vermont residents.
The department’s new $25 million computer program is flagging many more tax forms that have errors — both small and significant — and Samsom said the department did not anticipate the number of adjustments that would need attention.
“The system is much more able to pick up anomalies and incorrect data,” Samsom said. “So we’re having to learn on the go how to properly allocate staff. The system flagged a lot of returns, and we underestimated the amount of attention we would need to shift to that in June. We think by next year we’ll have this figured out.”
Of the more than 175,000 filings, Samsom said about 14,000 needed further review as of July 1.
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