Feb. 2, 2007 — More than seven months after 2005 property tax bills were due to be issued by the Tax Assessor's office, Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis announced Friday that they'll be sent out by the end of next week.
"During the past month, we have worked long and hard to ensure that these bills will be mailed out at the end of January," Francis said in a news release.
He said a due date has not yet been set for residential and commercial property owners to pay their taxes.
"As stipulated by law, I will request that the commissioner of finance petition Gov. John deJongh to issue an executive order specifying a new due date," Francis said.
Celeste Lawrence, spokesman at the Lieutenant Governor's Office, said that the office will issue press releases notifying tax payers of the due date.
She said she's urging people who own property in the Virgin Islands but reside elsewhere to pay them as soon as they receive them since they may not receive published information about the due date.
Lawrence said she realizes that paying two tax bills in one year will pose a hardship for some people.
The bills were due out in June 2006, but Francis said technical problems in both the Tax Assessor's Office and the Finance Department caused a delay.
The issue of late tax bills is so pressing that deJongh made mention of it in his State of the Territory address on Jan. 22.
"Most importantly, tax issues are about to hit home, as the failure to distribute property tax bills in a timely manner has led to the result that property owners and homeowners will receive two bills in one year. True, one bill will be for the prior year that was not sent out in a timely manner, but the effect remains that people will receive a 2005 bill and a 2006 bill in the same year. If anyone is not paying attention to why change is needed, hitting them in their pocketbook will wake them up," deJongh said.
Both residential and commercial tax payers will pay on the 1998 assessed values of their properties. The tax bills will not reflect the values determined during the recent revaluation.
Francis said that two-year project is wrapping up. He said he will soon alert property owners to changes in the values of their properties.
Tax bills are payable to the Finance Department.
For more information, call the Tax Assessor's Office on St. Thomas at 776-8505, on St. Croix at 773-6459 and on St. John at 776-6737.
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