On Tuesday, Tax Collector Howard Richman gave an update on where the Town stands in terms of collecting delinquent real estate taxes.
“We sent out 121 delinquent notices in the beginning of March,” he said, adding that the letters went to those who fell behind at least $25,000.
Also, according to State statute, the tax collector can only go after delinquent taxes within the past 15 years.
Of the original 121 properties who received letters, Richman said 11 owed $200,000 or more, and 11 owed between $100,000 and $199,999.
Some of the delinquents payments were 1 and 2 years behind, but others ran up to 13 years delinquent, Richman added.
As of May 20, which is 10 weeks since delinquent notices and demand letters were mailed, the tax collector’s office has processed $2,827,781.30.
“We occasionally update the amount that’s brought into this office and post it on the internal office door,” Richman said, explaining the printout taped to the door.
Of the nearly $3,000,000 owed from the original tax payers on the list of 121, so far 42 have paid their back taxes in full.
“The tax collector is responsible for bringing in as much revenue as they can to the Town of Greenwich,” Richman said. “And even though tax payers pay 18% a year on delinquent tax, it’s more important that the Town have the money now to operate as a municipality, rather than operate as a bank.”
Richman said if the delinquent property taxes were to remain uncollected, the Town would have to wait until the day the property is sold to collect, at which point the Town would receive both the tax and interest.
“When the BET set the Town’s mill rate on May 20, the amount collected by the Tax Collector’s office allowed the eventual mill rate to go up 2.75% instead of the original 2.98%, returning some of the found money to the tax payer,” Richman said.
When asked why the reduction of the original budget increase 2.98 to 2.75% increase was significant, Richman said, “Every dollar paid by a tax payer is a hard earned dollar and I don’t think any tax payer should have to overpay to compensate for those who choose not to pay their taxes.”
As for his plans for a tax sale, Richman said the outside attorney who specializes in tax sales is in the process of doing title searches for the remaining 60 remaining delinquent properties and that there is no cost to the Town of Greenwich to hire the attorney as his fees are derived from the delinquent tax payers.
Once the title searches are complete, which Richman said would take about two months, a tax sale date will be set some time before the end of 2019.
Information is available about how a tax sale works is available on the Town website. Click here and then click item #3.
A tax sale is a public auction of property conducted by a municipal entity which applies the proceeds against unpaid taxes or similar assessments owed.
There is some useful information on the Tax Collector page on the Town’s website.