Village of Barnesville Will Charge Tax Penalties

Barnesville Village Council agreed to allow the Regional Income Tax Agency to begin administering late fees and interest charges on village taxpayers who are late or who fail to pay their taxes, but one councilman held steadfast in his opposition to the plan.

Previously, at a council meeting held Jan. 21, Fiscal Officer Vicki Magers recommended that the village allow RITA to begin imposing the fees on delinquent taxpayers, but not on taxpayers who are required to file quarterly estimated taxes. This touched off a discussion in which Councilman Terry McCort expressed his belief that RITA’s penalty fees would be unfair to the average person who had made a simple mistake or had failed to file due to an oversight by a tax preparer.

This led to the issue being tabled so any questions or concerns could be directed to the village’s RITA representative.

At the meeting held last Monday, McCort maintained his strong distaste for allowing RITA to administer penalties and fees on residents.

“We’re going to take an individual person and penalize and fine them that heavily for not filing their taxes, and I don’t trust the organization well enough to go on the good manner Jeannie (Hannahs, assistant fiscal officer) would or Vicki (Magers) would or we as council would,” McCort said last week.

Magers said that those with specific, unique situations can appeal to RITA and the final decision in those cases is made by village. Community Development Director Bill Knox complimented Majors and Hannahs and their work with RITA that resulted in a 24 percent increase in collections.

“Are there extenuating circumstances? On occasion, but if you don’t pay your electric bill your service gets shut off,” Knox said. “If you don’t pay your car payment, it gets repossessed. There need to be consequences for failure to file because we’ve had people in the past just simply not pay taxes. It’s that simple, and ultimately it’s the responsibility of the taxpayer.”

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