Pay attention, seniors
December 22, 2009
I am writing to alert seniors who live in Pitkin County to check their property taxes for the past few years to make sure they did get their senior discount if they applied for it. This past spring, while helping my parents with their taxes, I saw that they had not been given their senior discount. Since I had filled out the form requesting this discount for them several years earlier I knew they should have it and called the property tax office.
It turned out that my parents’ name had been dropped from the system by the computer. Pitkin County owed my parents a refund for several years and apologized for the error. The county employee said she could send the 2008 refund right away and that we would have to wait a bit for the prior year’s refund. The first check came, but neither my mother nor I saw the second one come.
A few weeks ago I suggested to my mother she call Pitkin County to see about that second check. The county employee told her that they had mailed a check for more than $3,647 last spring, but that was an error (also due to the computers), and my parents now owed Pitkin County $2,500, but they would not charge us interest on what was owed due to the error being theirs. (My 90-year-old father had deposited the check to his bank account but failed to alert us to the larger-than-expected windfall since he really doesn’t do money accounting at age 90.)
I actually think they should reward my parents for alerting them to this second error and split the difference, but of course, that will not be what happens. The people in the office were very apologetic. Computers do weird things sometimes. I am writing to advise seniors to look at their property tax bills to make sure they got what they deserved in a discount, but of course, not anything extra! There will be no senior discount this year, so maybe the computers will work better. Who knows?
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