Columbia County property owners still owe about $21 million in property taxes, and Friday is the deadline to pay those taxes without penalty.
As of Monday morning, the county Tax Commissioner's Office had collected more than $80.6 million in taxes, but about $21.2 million still was outstanding, said Financial Manager Diana Hamilton.
Friday is the final day for Columbia County landowners to pay their property taxes without late fees.
The taxes pay for services provided by the county, school board, cities and state.
Hamilton said the Tax Commissioner's Office still was awaiting payment on more than 13,500 bills, which can include a single taxpayer owing on multiple properties.
Thus far, more than 43,600 bills have been paid.
Those failing to pay by the deadline face a 1 percent monthly penalty on the unpaid balance. After 90 days, they will be charged an additional 10 percent.
Last month, Tax Commissioner Kay Allen said more property owners had paid their taxes already when compared with the same time frame in previous years.
"Sixty-five percent paid. ... That's excellent," Allen said. "That's much higher than we normally have paid up with this much time left before the deadline."
Property taxes in Columbia County typically are due Nov. 15. The deadline postponement was caused by Georgia adopting a law that imposes a moratorium on property assessment increases for the next three years. However, the law does not freeze the taxes owed on properties that decrease in value.
To reconcile these changes, an extensive software upgrade became necessary and the county Tax Assessor's Office was unable to send out property tax assessment notices by May as it normally does. Because assessments were mailed late to landowners, tax bills also were sent out late and the deadline to pay was pushed back.
HOW TO PAY
IN PERSON: Take payments to the Tax Commissioner's Office in Building C of the Evans Government Center at 630 Ronald Reagan Drive or to the Appling office at 1959 Appling-Harlem Road
BY TELEPHONE: Call (866) 381-4893
BY MAIL: Send to P.O. Box 3030, Evans, GA 30809
DROP OFF: A drop box is near Building A of the Evans Government Center
INFORMATION: Call the Tax Commissioner's Office at (706) 261-8299
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