>>I would certainly (and I believe we did once or twice) consider abating
>>taxes in the case of an act of nature -- for example, a family losing their
>>house to fire -- but I'd have to agree with Chuck that hard-nosedness is a
>Rob: Here is a "hard-nose" response. If a persons house burns
>down on March 30, you will not tax it. If they build it back on
>April 2, you will not tax it. You do not tax any construction
>during a year until April 1 of the next year. Therefore,
>why should you abate the taxes for a house fire?
>(Actually, I would consider this if a family moved out of
>town due to the fire... I have had this request from a family
>that stayed in town, in rental housing, and kept sending their
>kids to school!!)
>Incidentally, under South Burlington City Charter the City charges
>a 8% late fee on tax payments. Also under the Charter, the City
>Manager ONLY has the right to waive these fees...my decision is
>non-appealable to Council or court. My sole defined criteria
>is "the taxpayer was unable to pay due to circumstances beyond
>their control." I could write a book about the special
>circumstances that have happened to taxpayers. I get the
>most bizarre and funny excuses for being late (along with a
>few reasonable requests.) How about the secretary who was
>responsible to mail the check on the 15th, went into labor on
>the night of the 14th, and asked the nurses to remind her
>husband to mail the check but they forget to tell him.
>You make the call.
>Or the taxpayer who had to leave town suddenly for a grandmothers
>funeral in Ohio. The day after I granted the waiver I read in the
>sports section of the Free-Press that he had won a stock car race
>in South Carolina the same weekend!! ( We straightened that out.)
I think the abatement would, as I indicated, depend on the circumstances.
If the house burned down on April 2 and they were unable to rebuild it
until March 30, an abatement might be in order.
And I would actually be more inclined to consider an abatement for someone
who stayed in town (especially since they would continue to be town
citizens) and was going to rebuild than for someone who was leaving and not
As far as extensions or waivers for not sending the check, I may be more
hard-nosed than you -- if you have time to call to request the waiver, IMHO
you have time to write a check and mail it... :-)