For 14 years I served as the Treasurer for the City of York. Part of my responsibilities was collecting property taxes for the school district, as well as the county and city.
During that tenure, the tax laws of the commonwealth mandated a period of tax reduction known as the rebate period, another period known as the face period and finally the penalty period. If the taxpayer pays the tax within the rebate period, he/she is entitled to a 2 percent discount. The time between issuance and rebate period was to be 60 days, as well as the period between rebate and face period. The issuance date was the date on the tax bill shown in the "Bill Date" box.
Now, having said all that, I look at my tax bill for this year for the School District for the City of York. The "Bill Date" is July 17, 2012. The last day the tax can be paid at rebate amount is Aug. 31 2012.
There are a couple of things wrong with this. One, what happened to the 60 days? Did the Legislature give York a special calendar? Thirty days would be Sept. 15. Since that's a Saturday, it would move to Sept. 17.
But the most problematic is the due date of Aug. 31 2012. Historically, the rebate period has always ended on Sept. 1. If you are used to paying on the last day, I hope you read your bill, for on Sept. 1 you will have lost your 2 percent.
But what this really shows is local governments do things however and whenever they want. School districts are not to collect property taxes. They do. Third Class cities (York) are to follow certain laws. Most do as they please. The answer most governments give to all this is "sue me." OK, who's got the time and the money? Nobody.
So life goes on the way the locals deem they want. Thus, you get a school district doing a 45-day discount period and not a 60-day period.