Friday, January 19, 2001

Property owners get tax break

Due date moved to Feb. after bills found forgotten

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A delay in mailing 39,000 Hamilton County tax bills means a break for all county property owners — more time to pay up.

        The deadline was Jan. 31, but the state has agreed to give coun ty taxpayers until Feb. 9 because so many people have yet to receive their bills.

        Amounts on the tax bills are correct, but the contractor who prints and mails the bills allowed tens of thousands to slip through the cracks because of a rush to get mail out before the Jan. 7 postal rate increase.

        Officials with the Cleveland contractor, Midwest Direct Marketing Services, noticed the problem last week, company president Richard Gebbie said.

        “We fell behind, then realized we missed some files after we thought we had printed them all,” Mr. Gebbie said.

        He said his company processed 1.4 million pieces of mail — for private companies, Hamilton County, the city of Pittsburgh and the federal government, to name a few — during the last week of December and the first week of January.

        The county paid Midwest more than $89,000 to handle tax bills last year and this year. That cov ers the cost of paper, stamps and other materials.

        Hamilton County Treasurer Rob Goering said the deadline had to be extended for all taxpayers, not just those who are getting their bill late.

        Gary Gudmundson, communications director for the Ohio Department of Taxation, said extensions are granted only in cases of emergency. The new deadline is picked by the county auditor, but must fall during the first 15 days of February.


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