By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
Taxpayers in Beacon Falls, Naugatuck and Prospect again have the option to defer tax payments; though some will have to apply to take advantage of the deferment program.
The state allowed municipalities to defer July tax payments, interest free, for 90 days to help people who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Dec. 16, Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order that reinstated the deferment program for January tax payments.
Municipalities can defer January payments, which are typically due by Feb. 1, to April 1. The deferment does not apply to back taxes already owed, and escrow companies still have to pay by Feb. 1.
While the program allows people to defer payments interest free for 90 days, the 1.5% interest rate will still add up monthly. Meaning, taxpayers who pay after April 1 will be charged the full 6% interest.
Municipalities have the option to defer tax payments for all taxpayers or just taxpayers who apply for the program.
Prospect officials decided again to allow taxpayers to hold off on making payments without filing an application.
Landlords still have to apply for a deferment and show that they lost rental income due to the pandemic, Prospect Tax Collector Anne Marie Burr said.
As the Prospect Town Council discussed the program during a special meeting Dec. 21, Burr suggested the town ask people to apply this time around. She said the January bills went out on Dec. 11 — before Lamont issued the executive order — with a due date of Feb. 1. She expressed concerns that people may not be aware of the program or that they will be charged full interest if payments are made after April 1.
Burr emphasized, though, that she was OK with whatever direction officials chose to take.
The consensus among council members was that they didn’t want to require people who may need the help to apply.
“I also feel this is a time we need to have compassionate management,” council member Theresa Graveline said.
Naugatuck and Beacon Falls taxpayers will have to apply for the deferment program, which is how the municipalities handled the program over the summer. Officials say applying is a formality. Applications are due by Feb. 1.
Naugatuck Tax Collector James Goggin said about 100 people in the borough took advantage of the program for July tax payments.
“I think that it’s a good thing that the governor has done to help relieve people,” Goggin said.
Beacon Falls Tax Collector Jennifer Bilsky said eight people in town applied for a deferment the first time.
“I think it’s fair for anyone who has been impacted by COVID to give them a chance to pay without penalty,” she said.
Goggin said applications are also available in the lobby of Naugatuck Town Hall, 229 Church St.
For information, call the Naugatuck Tax Collector’s Office at 203-720-7051, the Prospect Tax Collector’s Office at 203-758-4461, or the Beacon Falls Tax Collector’s Office at 203-723-5244.
Correction: Prospect Tax Collector Anne Marie Burr’s was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.