Debra Gabriel, Tax Collector
Town of Bethel
3454 Route 55
P.O. Box 561
White Lake, NY 12786
2017 Tax Bills will be mailed the first week of January. Last day to pay in person is March 31st or payment must be postmarked on March 31st. Town Property tax bills can be viewed and paid online with credit card at www.taxlookup.net See September’s Newsletter for School Tax websites See legal insert with your tax bill for a full explanation of dates, payments, receipts, etc.
2017 Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, January 28th 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday, January 29th Noon – 3 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Monday, February 27th 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, February 28th 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Tax Office is responsible for the collection of property taxes for approximately 7,556 parcels. All powers and duties of this office, as well as collection procedures, are statutory and defined in the New York State Real Property Tax Law. We welcome any inquires pertaining to collection policies as well as general tax information. We offer our assistance to residents, realtors, lending institutions, title companies, and other entities that may require tax information. The tax roll is available for public inspections upon request. Scroll down to see Frequently Asked Questions.
Tax bill information is available on the web (this site is maintained by my office until April 15). New owners, subdivisions, or property merges are not shown until the following year. To access your tax bill, log into www.taxlookup.net. Once you reach the website, access the tax bill by entering owner name, section, block, lot #, tax bill number or property address. Scroll down to see Frequently Asked Questions.
Duties of the Office of Tax Collector
The Town of Bethel Tax Collector is a two-year elected position. Before entering upon the duties of the office, it is required that all tax collecting officers take and subscribe the Constitutional oath of office. Once the Collector has taken the oath, he/she becomes the insurer and guarantor of all monies, securities, papers and records that the law provides shall be in their custody.
The Tax Collector collects the General Property Taxes in January. The bills are mailed in early January. The tax bill covers the period of January 1st. – December 31st. Payments can be made upon receipt of bill through January 31st, without penalty. If they are paid on/after February 1st, there is a penalty, see below:
March 2% plus $2 Second Notice Fee
After March 31st, all unpaid parcels are turned over to Sullivan County for collection.
Payments may be made in person by check or cash and are accepted during the hours listed above. Payments can also be made by mail. All payments have to be made for the correct amount due. Cash payments made in the office have to be made with the correct amount due. Please do not send cash through the mail.
The property tax bill contains levies for the Town, County, Fire District, and any special districts. In addition, if school or sewer bills are unpaid, they will be re-levied on the Property Tax Bill.
The Bethel Tax Office does not collect School Taxes for the School District. School Tax Bills are mailed in early September. The due date is specified on the bill. Please contact their tax office with any questions you may have regarding School Taxes. As of November 15th all unpaid School Tax bills are turned over to Sullivan County, and are re-levied on the following years Property Tax Bill with an additional penalty.
Third Party Request
To assist our elderly and disabled residents, third party notification of tax bills is offered. Property owners who are disabled or 65 years of age or older , and own a one, two, or three family home, may designate an adult consenting third party to receive duplicate copies of tax bills and notices of unpaid taxes. In order to receive this service, one must fill out a third party notification form RP-923, which is available in the Tax Office or by clicking on this link: Third Party Notification
Many residents have their taxes escrowed with lending institutions. It is the lending institution’s responsibility to notify the town for which they are responsible for paying. Many banks contract with Tax Service Organizations (TSOs), which are agencies that service escrow accounts for the banks. These organizations provide us with a listing of their customers and their identifying account numbers. The larger organizations do this primarily by computer disc. In the event that a resident received a bill that should have gone to the bank, it is still the responsibility of the bank to call for that bill. If the bill should have gone to the homeowner, but went to the bank, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to know that taxes are due. Please call our office immediately and we will issue you a duplicate bill. The failure to mail a statement or the failure of a property owner to receive a statement will not affect the validity of the taxes or interest prescribed by law, (New York State Real Property Tax Law §922). If you should have received a bill, but have not during the first week of January, please contact this office for a duplicate bill.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I never received my bill, or received it late; do I still have to pay the penalty?
Yes, the failure to mail a statement or the failure of a property owner to receive a statement will not affect the validity of the taxes or interest prescribed by law (New York State Real Property Tax Law §922). In addition, neither the Tax Collector nor any other official has legal authority to waive statutory penalty charges. These are fixed by the Real Property Tax Law. If they are waived, the collecting officer will be personally responsible. As all records are audited by State examiners, there is absolutely no discretion in this matter. The Constitution and the law of the State mandates the procedure.
2. If I mail my payment on the due date do I have to pay a penalty?
No. New York State Real Property Tax Law §925, provides as follows: “Payment of taxes by mail, when enclosed in a postpaid wrapper (envelope) properly addressed to the appropriate collecting officer and is deposited in a post office or official depository under the exclusive care and custody of the United States Post Office shall, upon delivery, be deemed to have been made to such officer on the date of the United States Postmark on such wrapper. The provisions of this section shall not apply in the case of postmarks not made by the United States Post Office. A postage meter postmark is not a postmark made by the United States Post Office and, therefore, is not within in the provisions of Real Property Tax Law §925. Payments can not be deemed timely because of a postage meter postmark date on an envelope containing a tax payment (Op. New York State Comp. 69-170).
If taxes are not received until after the due date, they are not paid until after the due date unless they fall squarely within the provisions of section 925 of the Real Property Tax Law, and the penalty must be added and collected. No Town Official or employee can waive the penalty (Op. New York State Comp. 68-626).
3. Do you accept payment with credit cards?
No. The Town has not entered into an agreement with a credit card processing center to enable tax payers to use any major credit card to pay their property taxes. If you would choose to use this method to pay your taxes, there is a convenience fee of approximately 2% of the tax bill added to the transaction. This money goes to the credit card processing center, not to the Town of Bethel. There is a cost to the Town for providing this service. To keep the tax rates down, the town chose not to adopt this service, since most property owners are already complaining of high tax bills. If you are willing to pay the additional fee, please call and let us know so we can keep track of the responses for possible changes in the future.
4. Can I pay my taxes in installments?
The Town of Bethel accepts payments in three installments. The first in January, the second in March, and the third and final payment in March. Please be aware the penalties are still in effect and does not exempt you from paying them. Please contact this office for the amount due if you are interested in this option, especially the final payment due.
5. Can I pre-pay my taxes?
No, the warrant constitutes the mantle of authority for the collecting officer to receive the taxes. Therefore, the warrant must be regarded as the instrument which empowers the collecting officer to begin the collection. Collection authority can not begin prior to the date of the warrant.
6. What if my mailing address changes?
Address changes must be made in writing. Notify either the Tax Office or the Assessor’s Office by mail, e-mail or fax if you wish to change your mailing address by clicking on this link Address Change Request
7. What if my mortgage is paid up?
In order to make sure you will receive the tax bills prior to the penalty period (February for Town/County Taxes), you must notify the Tax Office in your Town. Send or fax a copy of the “Satisfaction of Mortgage” letter from your lender.
8. How do I apply for exemptions?
All exemptions are handled by the Assessor’s Office. Any questions, please call Assessor at (845) 583-4350 ext 13 & 14 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Why don’t I see the STAR exemption?
The basic STAR exemption only affects your School Tax portion of your primary residence.
10. Why do I have to pay for a second notice?
If taxes have not been paid during the 30 days following the period when the taxes could have been paid without any interest or penalty, then on or after the 31st day following such interest-free period, the collecting officer is required to send a notice of delinquent taxes to the mailing address of the owner. A duplicate copy of this notice must also be sent to the third party as requested according to Real Property Tax Law, 923. The notice must be sent not later than 85 days after expiration of the interest free period, or 15 days prior to expiration of the warrant whichever is earlier. The town board has adopted a local law or resolution imposing the $2 to be added to the taxes, to cover cost of mailing of each such notice under section 987(1). When the town board requires this charge, it becomes part of the total amount due and cannot be waived.
11. Do I have to send the entire bill with payment?
No. Send only the payment stub with your check. Everyone will receive a pink paid receipt.
12. What do the different colors represent?
You will receive a white Tax Bill the first of January. The yellow is a Second Notice of unpaid taxes. The pink is your paid receipt.