There’s no getting around ‘em – paying your 2020 real estate and personal property taxes.
And today is the deadline.
Either pay up or you will be delinquent, and interest will be charged, according to the Cumberland County Tax Administration Office, along with enforced collections that could include bank levy, wage/rent garnishments and or foreclosure.
I took care of my tax assessments in early December here in Cumberland County and for property holdings in Moore County, too.
Death and taxes, we all have heard, are a sure thing.
But 2020 has been a tough year with the COVID-19 health crisis that has resulted in lost employment for many in this community and nationwide. And the truth is, some folks just may not have the funds to meet today’s deadline because of job losses.
“The deadline to pay 2020 property taxes is January 5, 2021,” said Joe Utley Jr., the county tax collector. “There are no provisions in the general statutes that allow an extension beyond the January 5 due date for paying property taxes without interest.”
If you’ve lost your job and you are struggling to make your financial ends meet, Utley is not without a heart.
“We understand this has been a very stressful time for citizens suffering direct effects from COVID-19, and the tax office is committed to providing citizens with the best public service,” Utley said. “If a taxpayer is unable to pay their taxes in full by January 5, 2021, they can contact our office at 910-678-7507 to discuss a payment plan that is mutually agreeable.”
All well and good, but I’m reminded of what Mama used to say in tough financial times.
“You can’t get blood,” Mama would say, “out of a turnip.”
We only can imagine there are those out there who will need to be making that payment plan call, and the tax collector should be not only understanding, but patient with anyone in financial straits because of the pandemic and loss of employment.
Annual tax assessments come at a tough time, usually in September, with Christmas just around the corner. And then there has been this health pandemic, where some businesses have been shuttered temporarily, and business owners can’t make a payroll, much less their rent, and their employees find themselves without a payroll check.
If you have paid your 2020 property tax assessment, good for you. If you haven’t, today is the day, and you can do so in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the fifth floor at the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse at 117 Dick St. downtown.
That can be a long line and a long wait, and you will be required, according to the county, to wear a face mask and be prepared for a temperature check before entering the courthouse, too. A drop box is available today, and it is monitored three times – morning, midday and at the end of the business day.
It’s a busy day, Utley said, which is why the tax office encourages paying online with an electronic check, debit card or major credit card. Or you can pay by phone at 1-866-441-6614.
To pay online, visit co.cumberland.nc.us/tax/payments. The address to pay taxes by U.S. postal mail is Cumberland County Tax Collector, P.O. Box 449, Fayetteville, N.C. 28302-0449, but it will need to be postmarked with today’s date, or interest will be accrued.
If you have questions, send email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-678-7507. The fax number 910-678-7582.
From my own experience, you will find our tax collecting folks professional and courteous. Remember, they collect taxes, but they pay taxes, too. If you are struggling financially, don’t fret. Joe Utley Jr. and his staff will work with you in what has been a difficult 2020 for so many.
Next week: Remembering Owen Widman
Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-624-1961