TUSCUMBIA — A Colbert County resident is upset because she said she wasn’t notified about her property tax exemption eligibility when she turned 65.
According to the state Department of Revenue, however, there is no requirement for local revenue commissioners to inform the public about what exemptions are available.
In an email sent to the TimesDaily earlier this month, Patricia Holley said she contacted the office of Revenue Commissioner Bill Thompson and has written Gov. Robert Bentley about the situation.
Holley stated she found nothing in her years of tax records indicating that she would be eligible for an exemption at age 65.
“I have the tax bill I received every year, but no mention whatsoever has been made of a senior exemption,” Holley said. “I heard about the exemption not from the tax assessors office but from a neighbor.”
Holley said the local revenue commissioner should take an active role in notifying the public about the various exemptions that are available to them.
Carla Snellgrove, a spokewoman for the Department of Revenue, said information about the various exemptions, such as the homestead exemption and exemptions for people 65 and older, is available on the department’s website and on many local revenue commissioners’ websites.
“As a courtesy, some counties may include information on the tax value notices or tax bills mailed to the property owners,” Snellgrove said. “It varies from county to county.”
She said neither the state nor the local revenue office would have any way of knowing the age of a property owner.
The Colbert County Revenue Commissioner was out of his office and no one in the office was authorized to comment on the question about notifying residents about exemptions.
Information concerning exemptions is included on the “Quick Information” tab on the Colbert County Revenue Commissioner’s website.
Lauderdale County Revenue Commissioner Danny Hendrix said a message on the back of the courtesy notification cards sent out annually by the office encourages taxpayers to ask about homestead, disability and over 65 exemptions.
He said the information has been on the cards for the past 10-15 years. The information also is printed on a large banner in the revenue commissioner’s office.
Hendrix said each office handles the issue differently.
“We’ve done everything we can do as far as notifying them by the card we send them,” Hendrix said.
Holley said she qualified for the exemption, but did not notify the revenue commissioner’s office soon enough to apply the exemption to the 2011 tax year. She said it’s unfair for older residents in Colbert County to have to find information about exemptions on their own.
As a form of protest, Holley said she plans to pay her $283 tax bill with mostly pennies.
“I have $265 in pennies, and it’s heavy,” she said.
She said her main goal is to let the public know the exemptions are available.
Snellgrove said the State Department of Revenue’s website provides a wealth of information concerning exemptions, as do various local websites.
“They’re a really good resource for taxpayers, 24-7,” Snellgrove said.
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.