FAQs: Waiving Interest and Late Fees on Real Estate and Excise Taxes until June 29th 2020

FAQs: Waiving Interest and Late Fees on Real Estate and Excise Taxes until June 29th 2020
FAQs: Waiving Interest and Late Fees on Real Estate and Excise Taxes until June 29th 2020

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Mayor Shaunna O’Connell’s Declaration and Order

Waiving Interest and Late Fees on Real Estate and Excise Taxes until June 29th 2020

Section 11 of Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) provide general information about the City of Taunton’s implementation of the waiver of interest and late fees as authorized by Section 11 of Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020.  FAQs are based in part on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR). These FAQs do not answer all questions or address complex issues about the topic. FAQs are not legal advice, are informational only and shall not be interpreted to conflict with or supersede any Massachusetts law, regulation, DOR guidance, or local ordinance.

FAQs Regarding Waiver of Interest and Late Fees

1.         What type of bills is the City waiving interest and late fees?

The City of Taunton is waiving interest and late fees on excise and real estate tax bills (including liens and charges added to tax bills) due after March 10, 2020 and paid prior to June 29, 2020.  Only demand and warrant fees applied to excise or real estate bills can be waived.

2.  Is the City waiving returned item fees or Municipal lien certificate fees?

No.  The legislation does not provide the authority to waive all fees. Returned items and municipal lien certificate fees are excluded.

3.         What is the last day for a taxpayer to pay the bill and qualify for the waiver of interest or late fees?

The last day to pay the bill and avoid interest or late fees is June 29, 2020.   If the bill is paid on June 30, 2020 or after, it is paid too late for the waiver to apply.

4.         What if the bill is paid after June 29, 2020?

Then the taxpayer will be responsible for all of the interest from the due date of the bill to the date it is actually paid. Interest will run from the date the bill was due to June 30, 2020, or the date after June 30, 2020 that it is actually paid. For example, if a property tax bill’s due date is May 18, 2020 and it is paid on June 30, 2020, interest will run from the due date of May 18, 2020 to June 30, 2020. If the bill is paid July 15, 2020, interest will run from May 18, 2020 to July 15, 2020. If, however, the bill is paid on June 29, 2020, interest and late fees will be waived.

5.         Does the waiver of interest and late fees apply to municipal bills that are not excise or real estate taxes?  For example, does it apply to water and sewer bills?

No.  The legislation passed by the state only allows for the waiver of interest and late fees to excise and real estate tax bills.  Interest and late fees are not being waived on other bills.  For example, water and sewer bills must be paid on time to avoid interest and/or late fees. 

6.         Does the waiver of interest and late fees on excise and real estate tax bills depend on the taxpayer demonstrating that they have an inability to pay on time?

No. The waiver of interest and late fees applies to all taxpayers with the intent to provide relief for those suffering hardship due to the pandemic.

7.         Why is the City waiving interest?

The Massachusetts legislature passed a special law allowing cities and towns to waive interest and late fees on real estate tax bills and excise bills due after March 10, 2020 and paid on or before June 29, 2020, if the chief executive officer of the community elects to do so.  Mayor O’Connell, as the chief executive officer of the City of Taunton, chose to adopt to the fullest extent a waiver of interest and fees for Taunton taxpayers as authorized by that law.