New Program Provides Relief for Struggling Families while Increasing Efficiency of Tax Collection
(Clinton, Kentucky, May 21, 2015) - Hickman County Attorney, Jason Batts, announced that the office has now fully implemented a new program designed to assist those families struggling to pay their taxes while benefiting the needs of the community. The new program has been met with great enthusiasm by people taking advantage of it.
"The response has been overwhelming," Batts said. "There are a lot of people who want to pay their taxes, but cannot afford to pay them in one large, lump sum."
Under the old system of tax collection, any delinquent taxes were due in one payment, which was often more than some families could make and continue to put food on the table. By the time the person saved up the money, their property might be in foreclosure or subject to the high penalty rates required by companies who sometimes rush in to buy a person's tax bill the moment they become delinquent. Those participating in the new program have an opportunity to pay their taxes and avoid these scenarios, while contributing their fair share to the community.
Through the program, individuals who are delinquent on their taxes can now opt to enter into an agreement with the County Attorney's Office whereby they are permitted to spread out payments of the total due over 6 months or more depending on the amount. It is an option that many have already eagerly accepted. "We have had lots of people almost in tears because they were so happy to learn there was an option now that allowed them to pay monthly installments over time and save their home, while leaving enough money in their budget each month to pay for food and other necessities," Batts said. It is a program that took coordination with other offices and help from other county officials involved in tax collection. "The Sheriff's office, the PVA's office, and the County Clerk's office have all given their time and insight to help get this program up and running," Batts said. "It is something we could not have created without their help."
Although the program has proven successful, delinquent taxpayers are still responsible for paying their fair share of taxes. Through the program, if a delinquent participant misses one payment, they can forfeit their right to the program and any amount due can be enforced through eventual foreclosure Batts explained. "This is an opportunity, not a handout," said Batts. "The impact of government should not be to automatically put people in poverty when they genuinely want to pay their fair share, but are having difficulty providing for their family." Taxpayers have even agreed to pay taxes that have been due for years through the program--money the county had been missing out on because taxpayers could never afford to save up the lump sum previously required. "This is a prime example of the potential for government," Batts said. "Different departments working together in a way that allows people a chance to provide for their families and their communities."