Whew, that was close!
Got a letter from the VI Tax assessor just a day before we were leaving on a long trip. It said we owed about $6,500 in property taxes from 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.
Well, sports fans … we didn’t buy the Blue Tang until July, 2000. But the first lady I spoke with in the St. John Finance office said, “Well, you own it now and it’s your responsibility.” Fortunately, the second lady knew better, and was helpful in getting things righted, and quickly.
When you sell a property in the VIs, you need a Tax Clearance letter at closing. This is a government-issued document saying taxes on the property have been paid. Of course, the sellers had such a letter, and fortunately the Assessor’s agent, Miss Antony, was able to look it up. She then went on to tell me the dates the taxes had been paid and then said the sweetest words … “Disregard that letter.”
Now, we’re not alone. Our attorney got similar letters, and several other property owners I know, did, too.
The reason for the letter was to offer a tax amnesty plan for unpaid taxes. It gives debtors a chance to pay up now and avoid further interest charges and fees.
The problem here is not that we were needlessly exercised and wasted time straightening these things out. It is that – obviously, the VI government has NO idea how much money is owed in back taxes. The Assessor believes these delinquencies amount to over $50 million. But if so many errors have been made in this collection effort, it’s clear that some spreadsheet somewhere is really screwed up. The office sending the amnesty letters has no idea what the real story is. Miss Antony on St. John has the real facts, but apparently her computer doesn’t talk to the Assessor’s computer.