By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
Beacon Falls, Naugatuck and Prospect are each offering some form of a tax deferment program for taxpayers, but as of last week not many people who have to do so have applied for the option.
The state allowed municipalities to defer July tax payments, interest free, until Oct. 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Municipalities had the option to defer tax payments for all taxpayers or just for eligible taxpayers financially impacted by the coronavirus. Escrow companies still have to pay by Aug. 3 to avoid interest.
Naugatuck and Beacon Falls officials opted to defer tax payments only for eligible taxpayers, and people need to apply to get the deferment. To qualify, residents must have lost 20% of their household income since March 10 from being furloughed, laid off or having their hours reduced at work. For businesses and nonprofits to qualify, their revenue must be expected to decrease by 30% from March to June compared to the same time period last year.
As of early last week, Naugatuck Tax Collector Jim Goggin said his office had only received about 20 or so applications. He expects more people will apply after receiving their tax bills, which will include information on the deferment option.
Beacon Falls Tax Collector Jennifer Bilsky said the town had received six applications as of June 11.
In Prospect, the Town Council chose to offer the deferment option to all taxpayers regardless of eligibility. Only landlords have to apply for a deferment, Prospect Tax Collector Ann Marie Burr said.
Using information from the assessor’s office, Burr said she sent letters about the deferment program to landlords in town. But, as of June 10, she said no landlords had applied for the program.
Burr said tax bills will have information on the program and how to apply as well as how people can make their payments, since it is unclear when Prospect Town Hall will reopen to the public.
The deadline to apply for the deferment program is July 1. Applications postmarked by July 1 will be accepted.
Goggin said his office is asking people who are applying to defer just their motor vehicle taxes to include a license plate number for proof of residency.
While the program allows people to defer payments interest free for 90 days, the 1.5% interest rate for late payments will still add up monthly. Meaning, taxpayers who pay after Oct. 1 will be charged the 6% interest.
Goggin said deferring the July payment also condenses payments for people, since taxes due in January aren’t pushed back.
“It’s still helpful for people who need it,” he said.
For information, contact the Naugatuck Tax Collector’s Office at 203-720-7051 or email Goggin at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Prospect Tax Collector’s Office at 203-758-4461, or the Beacon Falls Tax Collector’s Office at 203-723-5244.