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Worried Grayson taxpayers should check escrow

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County homeowners are being encouraged to contact their mortgage companies regarding their escrow accounts and the county’s new semi-annual tax collection.

County Treasurer Junior Young said his office sent out letters to all mortgage companies that requested residents’ tax bills last year, but said it wouldn’t hurt if homeowners contacted their mortgage company themselves.

“It’d be good if they did it individually,” he told The Gazette after receiving several calls from people who have questioned if they have to do anything.

Young said residents could simply send a letter in with their mortgage payment to make sure the company is aware that Grayson will now collect taxes twice a year — with half the real estate taxes being due in October and the other half due in April.

Residents have also asked if semi-annual collection would affect their monthly contribution to their escrow account.

Young said it will have no affect on that amount. The bill will just be due twice a year, instead of once.

As always, residents will continue to receive a copy of their tax bill, and Young encourages that it be kept as a personal record.

At the end of each year, homeowners typically receive a statement from mortgage companies to show how much money was collected.

Young said homeowners with a copy of the bill can figure out if they paid in more than needed.

If there is extra money, it typically rolls over into the next year.

If there is a positive balance at the end of a mortgage, customers will receive that money back, Young said. If homeowners have kept receipts through the years, they can be sure they are receiving the proper amount.

One side note: Young reminded homeowners to contact their mortgage companies upon payoff to request the money be returned.

While most companies automatically distribute the money to homeowners, Young said some do not unless requested.

Young added that if a mortgage company did not receive the letter about semi-annual billing and failed to pay the tax bill, residents could contact his office and he would send out the information.

With Grayson’s 4-cent tax rate increase, several homeowners have questioned if they need to notify mortgage companies of the increase.

Young said notification is not needed.

Escrow accounts typically take extra money each year to cover increases in taxes and home values.

But if any homeowners are uneasy about whether their mortgage companies know of the changes, Young said, it never hurts to contact them individually.

“It won’t hurt a thing to notify them again. We’ve done it once, but they can do it again if they want.”

Young added that homeowners should see no changes in their escrow amounts either.

The Grayson Board of Supervisors approved last month the change from once-a-year tax collection to semi-annual after worries of cash flow plagued the county in early parts of the fiscal year.

Residents will be responsible for half their real estate taxes on Oct. 5. The second half — and personal property taxes — is due April 5.