Minor change on mail results in big trouble

info@islandpacket.comMay 7, 2013 

My mother is a long-time resident of Hilton Head Island. Since 1989, she has lived in the house she owned jointly with my father until he died in April 2011. We changed her address for financial-related mail from her street address to a post office box in order to direct all household bills to Mom's accountant. All regular mail continues to go to her home.

In March, the accountant learned that the Beaufort County assessor's office had changed the assessment ratio on her house from 4 percent to 6 percent, supposedly because of the post office box. That change could have cost Mom several thousand dollars a year.

In order to correct what could have been a very costly mistake, my mother, who is 90, was obligated to prove to the county in less than two weeks via at least three documents that my father had died and that she continues to live in the house she owns.

My brother had to take Mom to the Department of Motor Vehicles twice to get a state-issued ID. At the assessor's office on Hilton Head Island, they were able to change the ratio from 6 percent to 4 percent only after Mom produced records from utility companies, the state ID, my father's death certificate and her income tax return.

My family is outraged over the arbitrary action by the assessor's office, the fact that they did not notify us and the inconvenience to my elderly mother. Other taxpayers should beware.

Caddell Bollin Czura


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