Pennies on the dollar: Lunenburg County sees few tax write-offs

Published 12:52 am Friday, March 8, 2024

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With only $1,293.58 in tax write-offs at the end of 2023, Lunenburg County treasurer’s office ensures everyone pays their fair share of real estate taxes. 

Just look at the math. Out of the $2,049,111.50 Treasurer Wanda B. Barnes said was assessed in 2003, her office brought in all but .00063 of what was due. 

As part of general housekeeping on local tax collection, Virginia code mandates that localities write off any real estate taxes not collected after 20 years. 

Barnes said her office makes use of many tools available to them to ensure property owners are paying their real estate taxes. 

The treasurer’s office sends delinquent notices and may put names in the newspaper, along with garnishments to collect what is due. 

“After three years, we turn the property over to our attorney for collection, which could mean land sale,” Barnes said. 

Her office exceeds the benchmarks set by the state Treasurer’s Association on collections made in the first year. 

“The treasurer’s office percentages do meet the thresholds. Collection for real estate has to be 95% or greater,” Barnes said. “We average around 99%.” 

No need for tax write-offs 

For Lunenburg County’s 2003 assessments, the most recent tax year, her office collected 97.49% of the $3,629,713.86 from property owners. 

Part of the reason for this may be the many options available to help taxpayers. 

“The treasurer’s office offers payment plans, prepayment plans, use of credit card and the taxpayer can also pay online,” Barnes explained. “There is also an outside drop box for payments after hours.” 

She said her office is always willing to help taxpayers. 

“We want them to call as soon as possible if they are having trouble paying,” Barnes said. 

Lunenburg County splits the annual real estate tax bill in halves to make it easier on the pocketbooks of all those who own property. 

Barnes said her office bills twice a year with payment deadlines of June 5 and Dec. 5. 

“If you do not receive a bill by the middle of May and November, please contact our office,” she said. “You are still responsible for the taxes even if you do not get a bill.” 

The treasurer’s office is located at 11512 Courthouse Rd. in Lunenburg, and can be reached by calling 434-696- 3354.