Checks on tax-rate enforcement all about fairness

info@islandpacket.comJuly 9, 2013 

This is in response to your recent editorial, "County smart to attempt new way to get back taxes." Using the connotation "residential exemption fraud" seems a little misleading with what is actually happening. And, "neighbors telling on neighbors" makes it sound like we are all a bunch of tattletales.

Those of us who own homes and live in them on a permanent basis certainly deserve the break that we currently get with the 4 percent tax rate. Some of us are also paying for additional properties that we own at a 6 percent rate.

Many homeowners have moved away and put their homes on the rental market. These homeowners have a mortgage payment that is due no matter where they live. Somehow the county needs to determine which properties become rental properties and make sure that the tax rate changes accordingly.

In some cases, a homeowner has been paying the 4 percent rate for many years simply because there is no way to determine if the owner still lives in the home.

Everyone should have to prove his or her residency to get that rate. But how we get this information without upsetting anyone is the question. It's not about neighbors telling on neighbors, it's about fairness to all taxpayers. As it stands now, many of us are picking up the shortage due from those not paying their fair share. We all need to pay our fair share.

Pat Harvey-Palmer

Beaufort

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