Those longing to pay their property taxes will have to wait another month as software problems in the Clark County auditor’s office has hindered calculations.

“It definitely will not be May 10,” County Auditor Barbara Bratcher-Haas said. That day is the deadline required by Indiana law.

Bratcher-Haas reports taxpayers will most likely receive their bills next month, after she and the treasurer’s office get approval for a deadline extension.

According to Bratcher-Haas, calculations were finally completed Tuesday, after several tweaks to the county’s software were made. Error messages were received each time the office attempted to calculate the bills, she said. The auditor’s office had to go back to the software vendor, South Bend-based Low Associates, to have the problems fixed.

Clark County is unique in the way it bills its tax-increment financing districts, or areas economic revitalization, Bratcher-Haas said. That was the source of the trouble. The County has about 12 such districts, she said. The company had to continually revamp its software in order to accommodate the areas.

Changes will be made in the way the districts are billed next year, she said, so as to avoid further problems.

Property tax collection has been a touchy subject across the state since May 2000, when an Indiana Tax Court Judge ordered the Department of Local Government Finance to adopt more up-to-date assessment guidelines. The new guidelines sought to better align assessments with real property values.

The state subsequently ordered a mass reassessment in 2002, putting property tax collections on hold.

Clark County finally caught up last year, when landholders were billed for 2004 and 2005 payments. Clark was the 91st of the state’s 92 counties to complete its reassessments. Only Brown County followed.

Bratcher-Haas stressed this year’s trouble has nothing to do with assessing problems of the past.

The next step in the process is to gain state approval on the auditor’s “abstract of taxes charged,” basically a spreadsheet of the tax bills. That approval could come as early as Friday, she said.

Once that happens, the auditor and treasurer must then agree and get state approval on the mailing and due dates. The auditor prints the bills, then forwards them to the treasurer for mailing. It takes the treasurer's office about three weeks to prepare everything for mailing.

Generally, property taxes in Indiana are paid in a spring and fall installment.

Trending Video

Recommended for you