For those homeowners who have a homestead exemption, the homestead supplemental deduction was not calculated properly on the tax bill.
Dear Members of the Media:
Please distribute this important message to the public. Unfortunately, for those homeowners who have a homestead exemption, the homestead supplemental deduction was not calculated properly on the tax bill. Specifically, the amount listed for 2022 is incorrectly listed as the same exact number as that for 2021. There are several reasons this happened, and was not caught prior to tax bills going out. First of all, for many years, dating back to prior auditors, we have always had our outside professional services advisor, Low & Associates, come to the office in person, and assist us in preparing the tax abstract. Unfortunately, despite multiple efforts on the part of my chief tax deputy to have Low come to the office, they did not make themselves available, and instead suggested to her to deal with creating the tax abstract over the phone. Moreover, as my chief tax deputy is relatively new to the position, without the proper assistance of this outside professional services advisor in an on-site capacity (who, even worse, was minimally available over the telephone), she was working off of a checklist produced by the prior person in the position (who retired from the position upon my taking office 15 months ago). That checklist incorrectly instructed her to NOT perform a “mass update” of the homestead supplement number, because of the errors it would generate in determining the tax for multiple parcel homesteads.
Nobody caught the error, either in the Auditor’s office (which is responsible for creating the tax bill), at Low & Associates, or in the Treasurer’s Office (which is charged with sending out the tax bill). My office takes responsibility for its role in this error, and I take specific responsibility, as the person in charge. We are in the process of determining the specific property owners affected, and would encourage those with homestead exemptions to wait for a further announcement from my office, prior to paying your tax bill. It is possible that we will be sending out corrected tax bills to affected homeowners. It is worth noting that not every homesteader will be affected by this error, specifically, those who are subject to the 1% tax cap.
I want to emphasize again that this error only affects those parcels who have filed for the homestead exemption. No other parcels are affected. Again, we will make a further announcement, once we have made a determination of the scope of the problem.
La Porte County Auditor