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Politics & Government

New Castle County mistakenly sends out 51,000 property tax bills

Delaware Public Media

New Castle County accidentally sent out 51,000 property tax bills to residents who should not receive them.

The vendor responsible for mailing and preparing property tax forms sent the bills to property owners that do not normally pay their bills directly - but do so through their mortgage lender.


New Castle County Chief Financial Officer Michael Smith says they are working to notify all residents affected by this mistake.


“And we are trying to know exactly how many of this 102,000 parcel file got a mailing incorrectly and we’re gonna send them a letter to let them know they’re not required to remit payment because their mortgage company is gonna pay it on their behalf.”


The county received notice of the error this past weekend from some taxpayers and the vendor.


Smith says if you receive a property tax bill in the mail and pay it without thinking, they’ll be able to catch it before the check gets cashed.


“So if you're gonna mail a check to 87 Reeds way or drop it off at our dropbox up front, we’re gonna check the account before we cashier it. If we see it has a mortgage indicator on it, we’re gonna contact the taxpayer and make sure, in fact, that they want to make this payment. They’ll probably say, well no, I didn’t mean to do that, and we’ll send the check back.”


Smith says this is the first time he’s seen a mistake like this happen before, and attributes it to changes in the way people are working during the COVID-19 pandemic.