Guilford County’s property tax rate remained the same this year, but just about everyone’s taxes went up a lot anyway since the Tax Department’s five-year countywide property revaluation happened to fall in a year when housing prices are sky high.

That means a lot of people will get some sticker shock this year – and it also means that those who are in particularly difficult financial situations may have even more trouble paying.

However, Guilford County government wants people to know that there are options for those in some special situations who are truly unable to pay the huge tax increase. There are several property tax relief programs available in Guilford County – and across the state – that help certain challenged residents with their tax bills.

Those programs may either lower the property tax bill or help pay the taxes due.

The help is aimed at those such as disabled veterans, financially challenged elderly people and the unmarried surviving spouses of veterans with a disability.

The Guilford County Tax Department will work with people in other ways as well if the property owner can demonstrate an inability to pay to the bill on a primary residence.

Those who need help can visit to find out if they qualify, and, if so, to submit an application.

One program, for instance, excludes from taxation the greater of the first $25,000 or 50 percent of the appraised value of a home.

The programs usually apply only to the permanent residences of qualifying owners.

Over the years Guilford County Tax Director ben Chavis has stressed the fact that high collection rates – like the ones the Guilford County Tax Department achieve every year– are what makes the tax system fair and equitable.

Despite that goal, state and county tax officials concede that there are some very special circumstances in which partial payments, payment plans or subsidized payments are needed.