Abington selectmen have voted to waive interest and other penalties for tax payments and water and sewer bill payments due after March 10, but paid before June 30, while declining to push back the Q4 tax payment deadline from May 1 to June 1.
OK, that’s a lot to digest. So what does this all mean?
With the state’s unemployment rate exploding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature recently passed a package of laws that give cities and towns expanded powers to provide taxpayers some financial relief.
Normally, tax and ratepayers have to pay interest and other penalities if they fail to pay bills on time. Abington selectmen voted recently to take advantage of one of the state’s new laws, allowing them to give residents and business owners who may be struggling financially additional time to make payments without also racking up extra charges.
This grace period only applies to bills that were due by March 10, 2020 (which is around when things started to get crazy). The balances also must be fully paid before June 30, 2020. That date is important because it’s the final day of the town’s budgetary year.
Selectmen, however, decided not to take advantage of another provision to delay the due date for Fourth Quarter excise and property taxes from May 1 to June 1. They decided this for a couple reasons: first, around half of the town’s real estate tax payments are made by banks already holding money in escrow for Abington mortgage holders. Second, the town had already printed and mailed out fourth quarter tax bills. Changing the due date may have required the town to reprint and mail the bills, at an additional cost to the town.
But mostly, selectmen felt the provision wasn’t needed. It’s earlier vote to waive interest and penalties for bills paid late meant it makes no difference whether taxpayers paid their fourth quarter bill by May 1 or June 1 — it’s all good, man, so long as the town gets its money before June 30.
“By waiving the interest, we’ve giving them the extra month anyway,” said Selectman Tim Chapin.
In a letter to selectmen, Abington Treasurer/Collector Sonia Hodge said the only difference for taxpayers would be that interest on late bills paid after June 30 would be calculated from May 1 instead of June 1. For example, a the cost of 30 days of interest for a house valued at $350,000 would be $17.85.
For more information on the board of selectmen’s tax votes, and how they may impact your situation, please contact the Abington Treasurer/Collector’s Office at 781-982-2131. Although Town Hall is closed to the public, the payment dropbox is still emptied regularly. Payments can be made by leaving your check in a clearly marked envelope in the dropbox, mailing your check to the PO Box listed on the bill, or by paying online at www.abingtonma.gov