As you probably know, we bought a house recently. With that sort of thing comes taxes. For the actual sale itself, the state takes 2%. 1% is paid directly to the state by the borrower, the other 1% is paid by the borrower first to the seller who then pays it to the state.
Then there are property taxes. Because I own property, the state lays claim to some of my money based again on either what I paid for that property, or (often worse) what it thinks I could get for it if I sold it.
Due to the timing of when we bought the house, and when property taxes are due, there was some confusion. I was told to “be on the lookout for the property taxes. Bring them to us (the mortgage company) when they arrive. If they don’t show up, give us a call.” Well, that’s like saying “if it doesn’t rain, you should water your lawn.” How much time? When is too late? So, I gave a call to them mid last month. I had to leave a message. I called again and spoke to my mortgage processor, who would look into it and call me back. I called again and left another message. I called again (this week) and learned that I should call the Altoona Area School District (AASD) tax office. So, a couple of days ago, at around 4:15 I gave that number a call. It rang and rang. Today, I had a couple of other calls to make, so I called the AASD tax office again. I learned that I have until Monday the 8th to have my tax bill paid (or at least postmarked) before I was assessed a late fee and fine and all that jazz. The tax bill was sent to that address, I should have received it (apparently the seller is the only person who knows about forwarding mail.) They’ll mail me a copy, but it won’t go out until Monday. I can come by and get a copy, but their summer hours are such that they close at 3:15 PM. It was 3:03. Their office is on the east end of town (we live on the west end.) I made it there at 3:17. The door was locked, the shade was drawn. Through an adjacent window, I could see several people still in the office working away at computers. I knocked. Dirty glances were cast at the door, but except for that, the knocking went unanswered.
The months. The unanswered phone calls. And it comes down to my making it across town in 12 minutes instead of 14. That even assumes that my mortgage company (which just changed in August anyway!) could receive a fax from me today and cut the check by Monday. I’m so screwed. In Charlottesville, at least they have the sense to bill the mortgage company. They’re the ones that have my money for this! I think that’s the thing I dislike most about Altoona (at least today!) — how hard it seems I have to track down the people who have laid claim to my money in order to get them paid.