The following has been prepared to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about property taxes. Generally, questions concerning assessed value, adjustments, exemptions or credits, tax relief programs and improper motor vehicle tax billings should be directed to the Assessor's office at (860) 379-3600 or faxed to (860) 379-9284. Questions about billings, tax balances due, amounts paid, delinquent taxes and interest charged should be directed to the Tax Collector's office at (860) 738-4762 or faxed to (860) 379-9284. For more information, please continue reading or contact the appropriate office.
Q: How is the tax rate established?
A: The property tax rate is expressed in mills, or thousandths of a dollar. A tax rate (mill rate) of 20 mills is equivalent to $20 in taxes per $1,000 of net assessed value. The Town of Barkhamsted Board of Finance sets the mill rate annually in May as part of the municipal budget process.
Q: When are taxes due?
A: Real estate and personal property taxes of $100 or more are due in 2 installments - one due July 1 and the other due the following January 1. Real estate and personal property taxes less that $100 and motor vehicle taxes are due in one installment July 1. Supplemental motor vehicle taxes are due January 1. Taxpayers always have until the first of the next following month to pay without penalty.
Q: What is the best way to pay my taxes?
A: The most convenient way to pay is by mailing your payment to the Barkhamsted Tax Collector, PO Box 195, Pleasant Valley, CT 06063-0195. Make your check payable to the Town of Barkhamsted and be sure to include the appropriate payment stub. If you would like to receive a receipt, return the entire bill along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We will not send back a receipt if you fail to include the self-addressed stamped envelope.
You can also pay on-line or in person. To pay on-line, you need to go to www.mcc.net. This site processes ACH payments, at a cost of $0.25 per bill, or credit card payments, which have a fee of up to 3% of the transaction depending on the credit card you use. If you pay in person, pay attention to the office hours printed on the bill as the tax office is a part-time office. Bring your entire bill and we will receipt the taxpayer copy for you.
Q: What if I can't pay my taxes for any reason?
A: Partial payments are always accepted. Pay as much as you can before the bill becomes delinquent. You will be charged interest on the unpaid balance. Interest is charged at a rate of 1 1/2% per month back to the due date of the bill (3% in August) or a minimum of $2.00 per bill. Motor vehicle bills also have a $2.00 fee to cover the cost of reporting you delinquent at DMV. It is always good to stay in contact with the tax office. All conversations will remain confidential.
Q: Can I pay my taxes with one check?
A: Yes. Be sure to double-check your math.
Q: What happens if I pay late?
A: In accordance with CT State Statute 12-146, past due payments are subject to interest at the rate of 1 1/2 % per month from the due date of the tax with a minimum interest penaly of $2.00. Motor vehicle bills are also subject to a $2.00 fee. The timeliness of your payment is determined by the delivery date or the postmark on the envelope containing the payment.
Q: What if I never received a tax bill?
A: Per CT State Statute 12-130, the failure to receive a tax bill does not exempt you from paying the tax and all interest charges that may have accrued. If you did not receive a tax bill that you are responsible for by the end of the first week of July, call the tax office immediately at (860) 738-4762 to get the payment information.
Q: Can the interest on my tax bill be waived?
A: NO! The Tax Collector has no authority to waive interest and makes no exceptions.
Q: I believe I am being improperly billed for a motor vehicle. What should I do?
A: Contact the Assessor's office at (860) 379-3600. Do not ignore the bill! If you recently replaced a vehicle you were billed for and kept the same plate, you need to pay this bill and your credit will appear in January when you are billed for the replacement vehicle. If you no longer have a vehicle and did not replace it, you may be eligible for a credit.
Q: I need to register my car and I have delinquent taxes. What do I do?
A: If you feel you do not owe the tax, it needs to be deleted by the Assessor before we can issue a clearance. If you owe the tax, your payment needs to be in the form of cash, bank cashiers' check or money order if you need to get an immediate clearance. Payment by personal check needs up to 10 business days to clear.
Q: What is a "supplemental" motor vehicle tax bill?
A: If you register a vehicle after October 1, you will receive a pro-rated tax bill due January 1 following the normal July billing period. This bill will reflect the tax due from the month of the registation through the following September. If you used a plate from another vehicle, a credit will show to offset the July tax paid on that vehicle.
Q: I have moved. What town should I be paying motor vehicle taxes to?
A: If you moved but remained in Connecticut, your motor vehicle taxes are due to the town where you resided on October 1. Tax bills are not pro-rated between towns. If you moved out of Connecticut, you may be eligible for an adjustment to your bill and need to contact the Assessor at (860) 379-3600. If you move, you need to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles within 48 hours of your new address and tax town. Be sure to change both your driver's license and all motor vehicle registrations. If your information is not correct at the Department of Motor Vehicles, your tax information will not be correct.
Q: I received my real estate bill and it should be paid by my mortgage company. What should I do?
A: Contact your escrow agent or mortgage company immediately to determine how to get the tax information to them. Also notify the tax office so we can make a note.
Q: I pay my real estate taxes but did not receive a bill with my other bills. What should I do?
A: Contact the tax office immediately to determine why you did not receive the bill and to get the amount to be paid. You are still responsible for the timely submission of your payment.
Q: I paid off my mortgage and will now be responsible for paying my own taxes. What should I do?
A: Contact the tax office. If the taxes have been paid in full for the year, we will change our records so that the next bill is sent to you. If it is prior to the January payment being due and you will be responsible, you will need to get the amount from us. We do not rebill in January. Unless we are contacted, we do not know when a payment status has changed. Late payments will be charged interest per State Statute 12 -130.
Q: My tax bill says "Back Tax Also Due" and there is a statement with my bills. What does this mean?
A: According to our records, there are still unpaid taxes in your name. If you do not know what these taxes are or if you feel you have already paid these taxes, contact the tax office immediately. Any payment you send will be applied to the oldest outstanding taxes first per CT State Statute 12-144b.
Q: Could I be eligible for an exemptions?
A: Yes. Contact the Assessor at (860) 379-3600 with questions on exemptions.
Q: Are there any breaks for senior citizens?
A: Yes. If you or your spouse are 65 or older, contact the Assessor at (860) 379-3600 with questions concerning elderly benefits.
Q: Do I need to save my receipts?
A: Yes, receipts should be kept for 15 years - the length of time municipal taxes are collectible. The tax office is not responsible for compiling paid tax informaion for income tax purposes. Requests for this information will be processed as time permits and, if research is necessary, there may be a charge.