The Town of Prospect’s website provides a convenient location for many of your tax-related questions and needs. My goal is to assist the residents of Prospect in understanding the local taxation processes and procedures and to provide easily accessible information pertaining to the Tax Collector’s office.
The Tax Collector’s home page consists of nine separate tabs:
- Tax Collector Tab: Tax Office Mission Statement, general information regarding the types of taxes the office collects, due dates, and the interest rate charged on late payments, Tax Office staff and contact information, office hours, and mailing address
- View/Pay Taxes Online Tab: information regarding DMV clearance for registration, how to find your tax bills online, how to pay your tax bills online, online bill payment frequently asked questions, and the link to the Tax Bill Inquiry / Online Payment System
- Taxes Due Tab: legal notice for the current installment due, current Grand List year and mill rate, due dates for property taxes, general real estate, motor vehicle and business personal property taxation information, frequently asked questions regarding taxes, credits, DMV releases and payment methods
- Income Tax Tab: how obtain your tax information for income tax purposes (updates after January 1 for the previous calendar year), link to obtain your 2020 tax information
- Tax Definitions Tab: definitions of frequently used tax collection terms
- Tax Collection Ordinances Tab: ordinances pertaining to tax collection
- Tax FAQ Tab: answers to 38 of the most frequently asked questions
- Tax Collection Enforcement Tab: delinquent tax collection enforcement methods and policies
- How Do I? Tab: instructions for 4 frequently requested tasks
- Informational Articles Tab: informational articles regarding local taxation written by the Tax Collector as they appeared in the Prospect Pages over the past two years
About Your New Tax Bills:
- Current Grand List covers October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021.
- Current Fiscal Year is July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022
- Current Mill Rate is 32.30 mills
- All Real Estate, Personal Property (Business), and Motor Vehicle tax bills were mailed June 28, 2021.
- The first installment for real estate and personal property tax bills and the entire motor vehicle tax bill becomes due July 1, 2021.
- The last day to pay without interest being charged is Monday, August 2, 2021.
- Payment must be received by the Tax Collector’s office on or before 4:00 p.m. EST on August 2, 2021 or if mailed contain an Official US Postmark of August 2, 2021 or prior to be considered on time.
- No additional bill will be sent for the second installment of real estate and personal property tax bills.
Official US Postmark:
- If you are mailing your tax payment on August 2, 2021, the only way to be sure the envelope will contain an Official US Postmark is to bring it inside at the Post Office and ask them to hand stamp it with an Official US Postmark.
- Metered mail does NOT contain an Official US Postmark.
- ACH payments you schedule through your bank’s online bill payment system are “Presorted” mail and DO NOT contain an Official US Postmark.
- Postage printed from your computer does NOT contain and Official US Postmark.
Failure to receive a tax bill:
- If you did not receive a tax bill for real estate or personal property (business) you own, or for any motor vehicle you owned as of October 1, 2020, it is important you contact the Tax Collector’s office immediately. Non-receipt of a tax bill does not invalidate the tax due nor eliminate the interest that must be charged for a late payment (CGS 12-130).
- Connecticut General Statutes (CGS Sec. 12-146) require all municipalities to charge interest, at the rate of 1.5% per month (18% per annum), from the due date of any installment, on any portion of past-due taxes. It is important to note that a full month’s interest accrues on the first day of the month and that the minimum interest charge is $2. For example, if a resident receives a tax bill of $400 due July 1, 2021 and makes the payment on August 3, 2021 additional interest in the amount of $12 ($6 for July and $6 for August) would be required to settle the taxes due.
Payments can be made:
- In person - The Tax Collector’s Office, Prospect Town Hall, 36 Center Street, Prospect is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The office does not close for lunch. The Tax Office is closed July 5, 2021 in observance of Independence Day. Payment methods accepted at the tax office are cash, certified bank check, money order, personal/business check, credit/debit card. If paying by credit or debit card a 2.95% convenience fee is charged by the processing company (Invoice Cloud).
- Drop Box – There is a secure drop box that can be utilized for check payments located at the rear entrance of the Prospect Town Hall, 36 Center Street, Prospect. Never leave a cash payment in the drop box!!! Please include a daytime phone number with your payment so I can contact you if I have a question regarding your payment. Payments left in the drop box are collected and posted daily to your account Monday through Friday. Payments left in the drop box over the weekend will be collected and posted on Monday.
- Mail – You can mail your check or money order payable to: Tax Collector – Prospect, 36 Center Street, Prospect, CT Please include a daytime phone number on your check so I can contact you if I have any questions regarding your payment.
- Online Payment System - CLICK HERE . Non-refundable fees charged by Invoice Cloud for online payments are: $0.95 for ACH payments and 2.95% for credit/debit card payments. Credit cards accepted are Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express.
- Pay By Phone – 844-953-0667. Non-refundable fees charged by Invoice Cloud for phone payments are $0.95 plus $0.95 for ACH payments and 2.95% for credit/debit card payments. Credit cards accepted are Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express.
- Pay by Text – scan the QR code on your bill to access our online payment system.
Now that both the Town budget and the Region 16 budget have passed, the mil rate will be set (usually during the first week of June). Exemptions and abatements for qualifying taxpayers will be applied to the tax bills and the billing file will be sent to our vendor for verification, printing and mailing. All tax bills are scheduled to be mailed on June 28, 2021.
The Town Hall opened to the public on May 3, 2021. Visitors must sign in on the iPad located at the top of the stairs. If you would like to pay your taxes in person, the Tax Office accepts cash, checks, money orders, credit and debit cards. If you choose to pay by credit or debit card, a 2.95% processing fee is charged by Invoice Cloud for that payment.
If you need to register or renew a registration with DMV and you owe delinquent motor vehicle taxes, the only way to obtain an immediate release is by coming to the Tax Office and paying all motor vehicle taxes due in your name by cash, money order or certified bank check. Your name will be electronically released from the DMV system within 30 minutes of your payment being made. Paper releases are no longer accepted by DMV. If you pay delinquent motor vehicle taxes with a check, credit card, debit card or through the online payment or telephone payment system, a DMV release will not be issued for 7-10 business days.
While most taxpayers are intimately familiar with paying taxes each year, not all are familiar with the requirements of a municipal tax collector’s duties. I would like to take this opportunity to give a brief overview of the position and how it pertains to collecting taxes in Prospect.
Our mission in the Town of Prospect Tax Collector’s office is simple but essential: to assist in maintaining the fiscal stability of the Town by ensuring the timely collection of all tax revenue and charges due. We do this by instilling public confidence in the integrity of the Office and assisting the public in understanding the taxation process and procedures. Our aim is to achieve the highest level of voluntary compliance through accurate, efficient, and courteous customer service.
Our office is responsible for the billing and collection of all real estate, personal property and motor vehicles taxes, as well as any related penalty charges. Additionally, Water Pollution Control Authority sewer use charges and related penalty charges are also collected by the Tax Collector’s office.
While the Mayor oversees many offices within the town, the office of the Tax Collector is overseen by the Office of Policy and Management, which is responsible for ensuring State of Connecticut tax collectors follow the practices and procedures set forth in the statutes. That being said, the Tax Collector provides monthly collection reports to the Mayor, Town Council and Treasurer, Quarterly Survey Reports to the U.S. Census Bureau, and annual reports to the Office of Policy and Management. The Tax Collector provides information as requested to the Town Auditor and reviews tax office policies and procedures to ensure all taxpayers are treated equally.
The Tax Collector’s office is governed by Connecticut State Statutes. Those statutes dictate specific procedures for the billing and collection of taxes, as well as the record-keeping involved. Statutes are strictly construed, with authority existing only if specifically granted by statute. Statutes govern when and how bills are sent; what notice is to be given or published concerning taxes; the rate and applicability of interest; how liens are applied; what means of delinquent collections are permitted; and so forth.
A tax collector does not have the authority to waive or reduce interest due on a delinquent tax. The Office of the Tax Collector must adhere strictly to procedures set forth in the Connecticut General Statutes. If a tax payment is not received by the tax office on or before the close of business on the last day to pay without penalty, or does not contain an Official US Postmark of the last day to pay or before, interest must be charged at a rate of 1 ½% per month from the due date of the installment. That is the law.
The Statutes also specify that failure to receive a tax bill does not invalidate the tax or interest due. As owners of property, taxpayers are responsible to know when their taxes are due. Failure to have received a bill does not exempt the taxpayer from payment of any taxes or subsequent interest charges. Interest is charged to all late payments and the statutes do not allow exceptions to this.
Real estate, personal property and motor vehicles are taxed each year with the tax becoming due July 1st. In Prospect, real estate and personal property bills equal to or greater than $100 may be paid in two installments if the taxpayer chooses to do so. Motor vehicle taxes are due in one installment. The first installment becomes due July 1st and is payable on or before the first business day of August, usually August 1st. Motor vehicles newly registered after October 1st of any given year are billed in December and become due January 1st. Each January, the second installment of the real estate and personal property taxes, as well as any supplemental motor vehicle taxes, become due January 1st and are payable on or before the first business day of February, usually February 1st.
In summary, if you own real estate, a business, or any motor vehicle you will be taxed for that property each year in July. If you do not receive a tax bill for property you own, please contact the office of the Tax Collector during the first week of July to inquire as to the amount of taxes due. We are happy to be of assistance and look forward to serving you throughout the year.
First, I would like to congratulate Taryn and Mike on purchasing The Prospect Pages and offer my very best wishes to them and their staff as they begin the new venture of publishing our hometown paper. The Pages is a great avenue for me, as an elected official, to keep the residents of Prospect current with news pertaining to the Tax Collector’s office. I firmly believe that one of the most important aspects of my position is keeping the people I serve educated, informed and updated on the duties and requirements of the local tax collection process as well as the policies of the Prospect Tax Collector’s office.
The past seven months have proved to be challenging for everyone. For the first time, taxpayers were not able to come inside the Town Hall to pay their tax bills. I hope the additional payment options offered served the taxpayers with as little inconvenience as possible.
One common issue that occurred frequently over the past few months is checks that were received for payment of taxes were either written incorrectly or were incomplete. Following are reasons your check would have to be returned to you without processing the payment.
- The bank will not process a check that does not have a date or has an incomplete date on it. The date line must have the month, day and year on it to be considered complete.
- The tax office cannot accept post-dated checks. Checks are posted to your account the day they are received and must be dated for the day it is processed or prior because it must be available for deposit that same day.
- The bank processes a check according to the legal line (the line that is written out in words). If a check has a dollar amount written in numbers in the amount box and nothing written out in words on the legal line, the bank will not process the check. If the words written on the legal line are written differently than the numbers written in the amount box, the bank will process the check according to what is written on the legal line (whether it is more or less than the number amount written in the box).
- If the legal line does not include the cents due for the payment, the bank will process the check for exactly what is written on the legal line. That will leave a balance due on your tax account and interest will accrue on the unpaid tax balance. Per CT State Statute, a minimum interest charge of $2.00 must be charged on any outstanding amount after the last day to pay. (Example: if you did not include the two cents that was due on the legal line, and the two cents was not paid on or before the last day to pay, you would owe $2.02.)
- If a check is not signed, the bank will not process it.
- Checks for tax payments should be made payable to: Town of Prospect – Tax Collector.
- Checks for sewer use payments should be made payable to: Town of Prospect – Sewer Use. Payment for sewer use charges cannot be processed if it is made payable to the Tax Collector.
It takes two to three days from the date it is mailed back for a returned check to be in your mailbox. Checks that are received early in the month the payment is due have time to be returned to the taxpayer and sent back to the tax office without being late. Incorrect or incomplete checks that need to be returned and are received back in the tax office after the last day to pay must be charged interest at a rate of 1.5% per month from the due date per CT State Statute.
In order to avoid any additional charges be sure to:
- Verify your check is dated properly
- Be sure the check is made payable to the proper department
- Verify the legal line is written correctly and includes the cents
- Be sure to sign your check
- Include a contact number on your check
Including a contact number on your check allows the tax office to contact you by phone if there is a problem with your check so you could make arrangements to correct the check. My policy is to call the number you provide and leave a message if there is no answer. If I do not receive a call back from you by 4:00 p.m. on the day I leave the message, I will mail the check back to you because we cannot hold a check that cannot be processed. If I call you and let you know there is an issue with your check, do not ask me to make the change necessary on the check for you. Altering a check is a federal offense. Any change that needs to be made must be made by the account holder.
In Connecticut, the assessment date for all property is October 1 (CGS Chapter 203 - Sec. 12-62a). Ownership of property on an assessment date makes a taxpayer liable for property taxes, unless the property is exempt from taxation.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sends a list of all registered vehicles as of October 1 to the assessor’s offices across the state. The town listed on your vehicle registration as the Tax Town is the town that will bill you for that vehicle. It is important to verify that the information for your vehicles is correct with the DMV prior to October 1 so you will be billed from the correct town. In general, motor vehicles are subject to taxation in the city or town where, in the normal course of their operation, they most frequently leave from and return to or remain, although state law provides some exceptions to this general rule (CGS Chapter 203 – Sec. 12-71).
Connecticut law requires all Connecticut residents with a vehicle registration, driver’s license, or non-driver identification card to notify the DMV within 48 hours of any change of address. If you change your address on or after October 1st of any year, your tax bill will come from your previous tax assessor. If you change your address prior to October 1 of any year, your tax bill will come from your current tax assessor. It is important to note that you have to change your license and EACH motor vehicle registration. To ensure you receive your tax bill in a timely manner and from the correct taxing assessor, take a moment to verify that the address listed on your license and vehicle registrations is accurate. This small step can save you time, and possibly money, next July when tax bills are sent out.
The motor vehicle bill you receive in July 2020 will cover October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. After October 1, 2019 if you sell, donate, junk or dispose of any vehicle that held a valid registration as of October 1, you need to contact the assessor’s office for direction on what information they will need from you to adjust the bill. Providing the information to the assessor’s office prior to the July billing will save you time and money by ensuring that you are billed only for the time frame you owned the vehicle.
You can download Change of Address forms and instructions at ct.gov/dmv. Alternatively, you can stop by the Tax Collector’s office where I would be happy to provide you with the appropriate form to fill out and mail to the DMV. If you have any questions regarding the information above, feel free to call my office at 203-758-4461.