Marshfield voted several years ago not to accept postmarks after receiving
some very late payments that the treasurer believed were from a postage
machine in a private office, where the postmark date can easily be
changed. Then a couple of years ago, a tax payment was mailed from the
next town using the correct address and perfectly legible handwriting. The
payment arrived one week after they mailed it, on the next day that I was
open after the warrant was turned over to the collector. The postal
service wrote a letter stating that the envelope went to Omaha or some such
place through no fault of the taxpayer. They requested an abatement and
were denied by a close vote. Those voting against abatement felt that we
had to honor the vote of the town to stop accepting postmarks.
The taxpayer paid the penalty. They petitioned for an article at town
meeting, and the article was approved. This is now our complicated but
common sense (I hope) policy:
1) Taxes must be in the hands of the Treasurer before the close of the
Town Office on the due date;
2) However, if a payment arrives after the due date, bearing a legible
US Postal Service postmark (but not a "metered postmark") showing that the
payment was mailed to the correct address on or before the Monday prior to
the due date, then the Treasurer will accept the payment as current.
This will hopefully allow us to make an exception for those odd postal
service quirks but still allow me to prepare the warrant for the collector
on the day after the due date. If a payment arrives late through no fault
of the taxpayer, I will issue an amended warrant.
-Bobbi in Marshfield
At 08:39 AM 12/18/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Having established a reputation as a big meanie, I have not really had
>problems with late in the day tax payments.
>However, POSTMARKS are another thing entirely. The Town voted about 5
>years ago to NOT accept postmarks. (Article itself was worded
>'positively.') This has been a wonderful thing because technically one
>would have to wait to do the Delq. Warrant until taxes postmarked the due
>date arrived from Hawaii or where ever including ones which might have the
>wrong or no zip code. Even then it is truly up to the Delinquent
>Collector to adjust out the Int and Penalties.
>This decision had been percolating for a few years and when a very large
>escrow check which had been indeed sent out on the right day, but through
>a set of science-fiction style events, arrived almost 3 weeks late - it
>was time for the No Postmark article.
>The Delinquent Collector and I eased first two years with a bit of common
>sense graciousness (while watching carefully for repeaters). The bills
>have "Postmarks Not accepted - taxes due in hand" printed on them plus a
>new little sentence which also 'graciously' points out that the P.O.
>This is probably most relevant to once a year collecting towns.
>Miki - Treasurer, Townshend