Arlington Cuts Real Estate Tax Late Payment Penalty

  • Reduced penalty helps those who miss a due date but pay within 30 days
  • 1000+ taxpayers could benefit annually
  • Does not provide grace period

Arlington, VA – April 18, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Arlington County Board today voted to lower the late payment penalty for real estate taxes from 10 percent to 5 percent for the first 30 days after the due date. The penalty for delinquent real estate taxes not paid within 30 days following the due date will remain unchanged at 10 percent.

“We agree with the Treasurer that this is a more fair and reasonable approach to real estate tax penalties,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes.

Treasurer Carla de la Pava proposed the amended penalty system as a matter of fundamental fairness to owners of residential and commercial real estate in Arlington.

“Sometimes, people accidentally miss a real estate tax due date but make their payment a few days later — of their own accord and without collection action by the Treasurer. In these cases, I believe a 5 percent penalty is much more appropriate,” de la Pava said.

De la Pava noted that the amendment did not eliminate late payment penalties entirely or provide any grace period, since real estate taxes not paid by the due date will still be subject to a minimum five percent penalty:

“Late payment penalties are essential for the prompt receipt of tax revenues. The new penalty structure balances the need to collect taxes in a timely fashion with not unduly punishing property owners who miss a due date by a relatively short period of time,” de la Pava said.

More than 1,000 owners of real estate in Arlington annually are expected to benefit from the new penalty structure Based on the average 2014 real estate tax installment bill of $2,752.50, a real estate property owner who paid his or her taxes within 30 days of the due date would now incur a penalty of $137.63, down from the $275.25 penalty he or she would have paid in the past.

Arlington is the only jurisdiction in Northern Virginia to have enacted a graduated penalty system for real estate taxes.

The County Board voted unanimously (5 to 0) as part of the consent agenda to lower the penalty.

To read the Board Report on this item, visit the County Board website. Scroll down to Item #20 on the Agenda for the April 18, 2015 Regular County Board Meeting.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation’s Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business.

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Christopher Sadowski
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