Beaufort News

Property owners take advantage of late-fee amnesty

The line of customers waiting for service at the Beaufort County Treasurer's Office extends out the door and into the hallway late Thursday afternoon.

Treasurer Doug Henderson says the lines have been longer than usual recently as a result of the office's offer of amnesty on late fees for property owners who were not able to pay their tax bills on time. The amnesty has, however, created one unexpected problem: with so many customers queued up around the corner, some phone calls are going unanswered.

"We're working frantically -- we have been every day this week" Henderson said. "It's a madhouse."

Property taxes are due Jan. 15 each year. The county charges a $75 late fee for those that go unpaid as of April 1 and tacks on $50 on Sept. 1. Penalties go into a fund used to cover the costs of pursuing delinquent taxes. The amnesty period on late fees for past-due taxes ends at 5 p.m. on Friday.