Property taxes are coming

To the editor,

La Plata County property owners should be receiving their 2020 property tax notice by the end of January. It is the only notice property owners will receive, unless they don’t pay their taxes by the end of June – that’s when taxes become delinquent – at which time delinquent postcards will be mailed. Ninety-five percent of property owners pay on time.

Taxes are assessed one year in arrears. That means these tax payments are for taxes that accrued last year and are payable now. During the year there are many buys and sells of taxable property. The buyer receives funds from the seller at closing for whatever portion of taxes have accrued during the year, thus becoming the “owner” of a full year of tax liability. That is why the new owner gets a bill for the full year of taxes.

Tax notices are mailed to the address on file with the Assessor as of Dec. 31. If you do not receive a notice, you may print one yourself, online, or call the Treasurer’s Office at 970-382-6352 to have a duplicate emailed or snail-mailed to you. You are still responsible for your taxes, even if you do not receive a notice from the Treasurer’s Office. You can update your address through either the Assessor or Treasurer offices. A form is available at: www.co.laplata.co.us.

It is good to remember that many services and the people who perform these services are paid for with property taxes: teachers, fire fighters, health-care workers, public safety professionals. Remember, these people have been on the front lines this past year making sure this community is as safe as it can be. Paying your taxes on time is one way to say “Thank you!” to these brave people.

Property taxes can be paid in two equal halves: due March 1 and June 15, or in one full payment: due April 30. Interest accrues on delinquent payments, per the schedule printed on the back of the tax notice. Also, if you have a mortgage, you most likely have an escrow account. If you do, you have already been paying your taxes throughout this past year and your taxes will be paid by your mortgage company from these funds. Sometimes homeowners pay the taxes, as well as the escrow company. This will result in a duplicate payment, which will be refunded to whomever paid second.

There are many ways in which to pay taxes: credit card, debit card, e-check, etc. These are the cheapest, fastest and safest ways to pay. Go to the La Plata County website, www.co.laplata.co.us, to make your payment. If you would prefer, you can call our office at 970-382-6352 and we will guide you through this process. Of course, if you want to pay in cash, we are open for business at 679 Turner Drive and will be happy to assist you.

Thank you, property and business owners, for helping to keep our community healthy in many ways!

– Allison Aichele, La Plata County Treasurer