Towns give taxpayers more time to pay

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Local taxpayers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak will have more time to pay their taxes.

Beacon Falls and Naugatuck officials voted last week to offer the state deferred-tax program to taxpayers. The program allows qualified residents and business owners to defer July tax payments for 90 days. Normally, July tax payments are due Aug. 1, now eligible taxpayers have until Oct. 1 to pay.

“If you’re affected by the COVID-19 pandemic your qualified for the tax deferment,” Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith said. “Meaning you lost your job, got furloughed or had to close your business.”

Prospect Mayor Bob Chatfield said the Town Council is scheduled to discuss the tax deferment option at its meeting Tuesday.

The Office of Policy and Management is supposed to provide guidance on who is eligible for the deferment program, according to an executive order issued by Gov. Ned Lamont.

OPM spokesman Chris McClure could not be reached for comment.

Municipal officials can also decide to extend the program to taxpayers not affected by the coronavirus, but Beacon Falls and Naugatuck chose to limit the deferment to those affected by the coronavirus.

Eligible taxpayers are people whose household income has been reduced by at least 20% and business owners whose business is expected to decrease by 30% from March through June, according to Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess.

Hess said taxpayers have to apply by July 1.

Borough officials are planning to send the applications in the mail and post it online, as well.

Tax payments due in January 2021 will still be due in January, which means people who defer paying taxes will have two payments due in three months.

“In 90 days they have to pay their taxes twice, one in October and one in January,” Naugatuck Tax Collector James Goggin said. “That presents a bigger problem.”