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County tax collection strong despite pandemic

Close to a month after Charlotte County officials extended the tax collection deadline, County Treasure Patricia Berkeley said collections were slightly higher than the previous year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but will still proceed with collections on those unpaid accounts.

“I plan to proceed with collections like normal,” Berkeley said. “I encourage taxpayers facing financial difficulties to contact our office to establish a payment plan.”

The original tax deadline was June 5, as it is each year, but due to the pandemic, the deadline was extended to June 30.

According to Berkeley, as of July 6, the county had collected 88% of the personal property taxes and 95% of the real estate taxes that were due for the fiscal tax year 2020.

“This is an average of 92% collection rate for the fiscal tax year,” Berkeley said, “We have collected more since July 6, but the figures are still averaging the same amount.”

Berkeley said for fiscal year 2019 the county also collected 88% of the personal property taxes and 94% of real estate taxes.

“The collections were slightly higher than last year,” Berkley said. “I am pleased with this figure as I was expecting it to be less.”

Berkeley said now the challenge is collecting unpaid accounts as there are so many variables associated with the pandemic.

“How many of these individuals are not working? How many individuals/businesses will file bankruptcy? Will the government issues restrictions again?” she asked.

Anyone having issues paying county personal property and or real estate taxes, should contact the Charlotte County Treasures at (434) 542-5125 so a payment plan can be set up before collection proceedings begin.