This month I am writing about a Bill that passed in the 2019 Legislative Session and that may have affected you when Property Tax Statements were mailed out this year.
The passage of Senate Bill 1033 on May 3, 2019, Signed by the Governor in August 2019, updated Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) §42-18054 and changed how Property Taxes are billed to owners with mortgaged properties. This new law requires that for any owner with mortgaged property subject to property taxes must be sent a printed statement of taxes due on the property. In the past, homeowners with mortgaged property where the lender paid the property taxes were handled between my office and the lender electronically saving a good deal of cost to the County. Homeowners had access to their annual analysis from their lender showing the amount paid for property taxes and could verify that amount on our website.
In September, my office mailed property tax statements to taxpayers throughout Mohave County, including those impacted by SB 1033. Prior to mailing, the cost for my office to comply with SB 1033 was estimated to be approximately $30,000 to $60,000. This increase to my annual budget included the cost of printing and mailing services as well as postage for thousands of additional tax statements and potential refunds.
Some Arizona counties chose to send postcards, reformat tax statements, or include special inserts addressing SB 1033 when mailing their usual tax statements. Any one of these options would have driven costs up even higher for Mohave County, which was unacceptable to me. Instead, I opted to mail tax statements using our standard format, which was the most cost effective option at my disposal.
I took full advantage of free public service announcements (in print and on local radio) to get this information to you, my constituents. I spoke at both October 2019 Board of Supervisor’s meetings “Call to the Public”, outlining the details of the legislative change and the impact it would have on taxpayers. In addition, the impact of the new law was posted on the Mohave County Treasurer’s website.
I understand that despite these efforts, many taxpayers were surprised to receive a tax statement in the mail, and some were unsure of how to proceed. I imagine it is likely that taxpayers with mortgages will continue to receive tax statements in future years, as I do not anticipate the repeal of SB 1033.
My best advice to you moving forward is to contact your mortgage holder to clarify whether your property taxes are paid by them on your behalf. This should help avoid any confusion or duplicate payments next time you receive a tax statement from my office.
Rest assured that I am exploring every option at my disposal to provide clear and concise information to taxpayers at the lowest possible expense to the County. My responsibility to carry out the duties of my office while making the best use of taxpayer funds is one that I take very seriously. I will continue to make use of no cost options such as PSA’s and speaking opportunities and will post future legislative changes relating to my office on the Mohave County Treasurer’s website. If there is a better method of communicating this information in the future at no additional cost, I will use it.
As a reminder, my office will be conducting its annual online Tax Lien Sale in February of 2020. Bidder registration begins in January of 2020. If you plan to participate, please visit the Mohave County Treasurer’s website for further details.
Please look forward to next month’s article from the Mohave County Assessor, Jeanne Kentch and have a wonderful last month of the year!