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County tax bill mixup reported

| Friday, April 2, 2004, 12:00 p.m.

If you bought property in Allegheny County in 2003 but haven't received a property tax bill this year, you might want to call the county treasurer's office.

Deputy Treasurer Tom Bradley said Thursday that his department mistakenly sent as many as 15,000 tax bills to addresses on an outdated list of the county's property owners.

"Property assessment was about three months behind in recording new deeds," Bradley said. "We didn't really know about it until the bills were sent."

Bradley estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 tax bills were sent to the wrong addresses, usually to the previous owners.

Some people who mistakenly got tax bills forwarded them to the new owners. Most returned them to the treasurer's office, Bradley said.

Others, he said, might have discarded the bills or are wondering what to do with them.

The department mailed about 8,500 new tax bills about two weeks ago to the proper owners and another 1,500 this week, Bradley said.

Property owners are required to pay their taxes whether they get the notices or not, Bradley said.

"The law is it's the responsibility of property owners to obtain tax bills and pay them on time," Bradley said.

Because the bill mix-up might have caused some taxpayers to miss Wednesday's deadline for paying a discounted tax rate, the treasurer's department has extended the deadline for them.

Taxpayers who didn't get bills on time because of the mailing problem will have until April 30 to pay the 2 percent discount rate, Bradley said.

"We recognize this was a problem, and we're trying to be fair," he said.

For information on Allegheny County property tax bills, call the county treasurer's office at (412) 350-4100 or (866) 282-TAXS.

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