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October 25, 2012

Whitfield residents start getting tax bills

Whitfield County residents should start getting their tax bills today, and Tax Commissioner Danny Sane says they’ll notice some new features he hopes will be helpful.

First, the bills are now color coded to draw attention to any changes that might affect the bill.

“We are putting the color blue for the county (property tax rate) and the color green for the county school board tax rate,” Sane said. “They can take last year’s bill and compare their taxes to last year and last year’s rate.”

The county Board of Commissioners voted earlier this year to raise its property tax rate 1 mill to 6.061 mills, and the Whitfield County Board of Education raised its property tax rate by 4 mills to 18.756 mills. One mill equals $1 for each $1,000 of the assessed value of a property.

“The Legislature has required the assessor’s office for the past two years to send out an estimated tax bill. An estimated tax bill went out earlier this year. But that was before the millage rate was set, so they had to use last year’s millage rate,” Sane said. “This is going to be a surprise to a lot of people.”

Sane said the new bills will also feature bar codes.

“When people come in, we have bar code scanners, so we can just scan their bills, take their payments and send them on their way,” he said. “We are trying to make everything as quick and efficient as possible.”

Each bill will also have a quick response, or QR, code, making Whitfield County one of the first in the state to include that feature.

“If you have a smart phone, you can download a bar code reader. They are free. Then you scan the QR code and it takes you to the Whitfield County website and your exact bill,” Sane said. “You can scan the bill and have it printed, have a copy emailed to you or pay it online.”

Finally, the bills will also ask property taxpayers if they want their future bills emailed to them.

“Sending bills by email instead of by the postal service will save us money, but that’s not why we want to do that,” Sane said. “We have been having some delivery issues. We get a lot of return mail. We verify the addresses, and we are finding that over 50 percent of the time the returned bills have the correct address.”

 

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