Taxes rise in many Luzerne localities
Hazleton had one of the smallest increases, but continues to have one of the highest overall rates.
Municipal taxes went up in 15 Luzerne County municipalities in 2019.
The percent increase ranged from about 2 percent in Hazleton (albeit starting from the highest tax rate of municipalities that raised taxes) to a 112 percent increase in Wyoming.
One municipality, Dennison Twp., lowered its local property tax rate.
Property taxes are calculated in millages. A mill is a $1 tax for every $100,000 in assessed property value.
A $100,000 property in Hazleton, where the 2019 millage is 5.96, owes $596 in municipal property taxes this year.
County taxes, which are unchanged from 2018, are 5.9754 mills, or an additional annual tax of $597.54 for that same hypothetical $100,000 property.
That doesn’t include school taxes, which vary by district.
The issue date — the date on which the payment clock for county and municipal taxes begins ticking — is Feb. 4 for most residents.
If those residents pay county and local property taxes by April 3, they get a 2 percent discount. After that date but before June 3 is the face period, when 100 percent of the bill is due. On June 4, the penalty period begins.
For residents in a few municipalities — Buck Twp., Conyngham Twp., Dennison Twp., Jeddo and Ross Twp. — the issue date is Feb. 13. That’s because those municipalities were still waiting to settle 2018 accounts. Residents there will still have two months from Feb. 13 to receive a discount.
And in one borough — Courtdale — residents are still waiting for an issue date. That’s because the tax collector there recently resigned, said Laura Beers, Luzerne County Treasurer’s Office manager.
Tax bills include instructions for payment.
New this year is an enclosed window envelope that taxpayers can use to send payments to their tax collector. The reverse of the bottom of the tax bill shows the tax collector’s name and address. Slide it into the enclosed envelope so the tax collector’s address is visible in the window and send it in.
Payments must be received or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service by the due date.
Taxpayers in the county’s four cities can pay their county portion on the county’s website at www.luzerne county.org, but those cities handle their own local taxes.
Taxpayers in Newport Twp. can pay county and local taxes online because the county is the township’s tax collector.
For people paying online through a bank, those payments can take up to three weeks to be processed. Those payments create a paper check, but it will arrive in bulk mail and won’t have a normal postmark. People paying near the end of the discount or face value period might want to avoid this method.