San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister outside the County Administration Building downtown. County photo

More than 28,000 defaulted bills were sent out to San Diego County taxpayers this week, but the county’s treasurer announced Tuesday that his office is offering penalty relief.

“We know many of the late bills are due to COVID-19, and we want our taxpayers to know there could be relief,” Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister said. “They may qualify to have their penalties waived if they file for a COVID-19 cancellation request. Our customers must provide documentation as evidence to show how the pandemic impacted their ability to pay their second installment by April 10.”

The 28,623 defaulted bills McAllister’s office sent out went to property taxpayers who failed to pay all their 2019-20 property taxes.

“We’re sending 6,195 more defaulted bills than we sent last year,” he said. “We expected to see an increase in tax defaults due to COVID-19’s impact on the San Diego economy and workforce.”

The defaulted bills total over $127 million; last year, $92 million in defaulted taxes was due.

The deadline to pay the 2019-20 annual tax bill was June 30. Beginning July 1, late bills will incur a 1.5% penalty each month — 18% each year — until they are paid. That is on top of the 10% penalty added for each late installment.

Taxpayers who have submitted a COVID-19 penalty cancellation request and have not heard back from the Treasurer-Tax Collector yet will receive a response in the mail. The office has received 3,261 COVID-19 penalty cancellation requests and has approved 53% of them. Most denials are due to missing documentation, McAllister said.

–City News Service

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