The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has begun discussing a move that will make a lot of people in the county happy if the board follows through with it.
On Friday, Feb. 3, the second day of the board’s annual retreat, the commissioners briefly discussed raising the discount rate for early property taxpayers from a half of a percent to 1 percent of their tax bill.
This would essentially undo a move made by the Board of Commissioners in 2014 when that board – much to the dismay of many county property owners – voted to cut the discount rate for early payment from 1 percentage point to a half point.
Property tax bills in Guilford County are sent out in early July and the discount on bills is granted to county taxpayers who pay by August 31 each year or who get the check in the mail with a postmark of August 31 or earlier.
Currently, about 60 percent of the county’s property taxes are paid by August 31 each year. According to county staff, the half percent discount creates about $1.4 million in “lost” revenue. Each additional 0.1 percent of the discount generates a roughly $280,000 revenue loss.
However, that money may not really be lost according to the argument made by some backers of the move. While clearly taxpayers save more with a larger discount, the county would have much more money earlier to invest and draw interest on, and there are other big benefits to the county for getting more money in early. It helps with everything from financial planning to providing liquidity to the county’s balance sheet.
In places like Mecklenburg County, where there’s no discount for early payment, those payments usually come in very late in the calendar year, or at the last minute in early January.
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said he’s very intrigued by the idea of increasing the discount rate and said there was momentum to make the change last year. However, he added, the change has to be made before May 1 each year and, Alston said, last year the board held the discussion too late to do it.
County budget staff and several commissioners seem very amenable to the idea and there doesn’t appear to be any real opposition to the move.
Guilford County Tax Director Ben Chavis told the Rhino Times at the retreat that he had never been in favor of reducing the rate and he would like to see the discount rate raised.
Chavis said the discount rate used to be even higher than 1 percent.
“The county’s discount rate went from 2 percent to 1 percent in 1993, when we started collecting for the City of Greensboro,” Chavis said of Guilford County Tax Department’s collection activities.
Sorry still not enough of a discount to make me pay early. Since they just raised my bill 22% this past year, why not give me back 4%? You can take early dollars and put in short term investments and more than make back any type of discount. Until this happens, I will keep my money till the last possible instant before these taxes are due.
It’s has to come from somewhere being that Sheriff Rogers got a $30000 raise. What’s the over all cost into the millions handed out while tax payers going hunger.
How about lowering our taxes back to where they were in 2021. You people think seniors are made of money. It was hard enough keeping up with the cost of living. Then here comes the city and county upping our taxes. I had to come up with an extra $700 on top of the regular taxes a year ago. Time for the government to cut back and stop the pet projects they forking over our money to. Give the tax payer a break.
Ya think Skip will give up $ that he can waste on other frivolous projects?
I can hear them now. Nothing to see here folks. We’ll give them a silly discount if they pay us early so they won’t notice us hitting them in the head with two-thirds bonds we don’t need their approval for.