Sullivan property tax deadline is Tuesday

J. H. Osborne • Feb 27, 2017 at 9:11 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — If you’re a Sullivan County property owner and you haven’t paid your 2016 county property taxes, the deadline to avoid late fees is Tuesday.

Full payment must be received by the county trustee’s office by close of business Feb. 28 (not just postmarked by then).

Penalties will be charged beginning March 1 at a rate of 1.5 percent per month.

If you are eligible for but not yet enrolled in the state’s property tax relief program for elderly or disabled property owners, you still have time to sign up in regard to your county tax bill.

The requirements for the rebate program for taxes are:

• You owned and lived in the home as your main residence in 2016.

• You must have been 65 years old on or before Dec. 31, 2016, or you must have been totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or other qualified agency on or before Dec. 31, 2016.

• Income for all property owners for the year 2015 must be less than $29,180 total.

Each requirement must be met for participation in the tax rebate program.

A similar tax relief program is available to eligible 100 percent disabled veterans and their widows or widowers.

Over the past year, the number of property owners enrolled in the tax relief program has grown by about 200 in Sullivan County, Trustee Frances Harrell said. That brings the total to around 3,400, she said.

You can view your taxes and pay them online by credit card, debit card or check at www.tennesseetrustee.com.

The trustee’s office at the historic Sullivan County Courthouse in Blountville is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Offices are also located at the Bristol Justice Center and at Kingsport City Hall. Both have the same hours of operation as the Blountville office, although the Bristol office is closed from noon until 1 p.m. Drop boxes are located outside the Blountville and Kingsport offices.

To receive a receipt for payments, taxpayers need to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope, Harrell said.

Failing to receive a tax notice or disputing a property’s assessed worth are not excuses for failing to pay on time, Harrell said.

Property owners with questions about their bill must make inquiries with Harrell’s office before the payment deadline. The number to call is 323-6464.

If you’ve moved in the past year and have not received a tax notice for properties you own, it might mean you need to update the information on file with the property assessor’s office, Harrell said.

County taxes are assessed on all parcels within the county — including those inside cities.

Sullivan County’s 2016 property tax rate is $2.5754 per $100 of assessed value.

Property taxes are projected to generate nearly $91.43 million in revenue for the county, based on a collection rate of 96 percent, according to the county’s current budget.

School systems in the county get the lion’s share of property tax dollars — $52.21 million of the revenue goes to general school funding, and another $3.43 million goes for school capital projects.

School funding is split between the county school system and city systems in Bristol and Kingsport because city residents pay county property taxes. The split is based on the number of students in each system.

The county’s general fund — which includes the budgets for such services as law enforcement, courts, elections, the health department, emergency medical service and county government — accounts for the next biggest chunk from property tax revenue, at about $27.39 million.

County property taxes, paid by city residents as well as county residents, are estimated to generate about $2.8 million for the Sullivan County Highway Department, which performs no work inside the cities.

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