Some Northwest Washington residents still have not paid their property taxes more than five weeks after payment was due.
The residents say they aren't scofflaws. They simply have yet to receive a tax bill, despite promises last month by District tax officials that a widespread billing mix-up would be corrected.
"It's my responsibility to pay my taxes, but it's their responsibility to notify me how much my taxes are," Denise Fantone said.
Fantone added that she and her husband, Michael Jennison, have been trying to get a copy of their bill from the Office of Tax and Revenue. "I have not received any notification on the phone or in writing," she said.
The couple are among an estimated 1,000 Northwest residents who did not receive tax bills in time for the Sept. 15 filing deadline. City officials have acknowledged that a mix-up occurred when the bills were printed and delivered to the company responsible for mailing them.
The tax office granted a one-month filing extension -- to Oct. 15 -- to anyone who did not receive a bill and promised not to assess late fees or interest penalties. Director Herbert J. Huff said his staff has quickly mailed or faxed a new bill to all residents who have requested one.
Huff, who attended two community meetings in Northwest to explain the billing procedure to residents, said most of the 1,000 people who were affected initially have since paid their taxes. He was unable to say how many have not paid.
"We do think [the problem] is all but finished," Huff said. "Most of the people were able to pay within the time frame of the new deadline -- October 15."
Brendan Doyle, who lives on Utah Avenue NW, said his accountant called the tax office two weeks ago to request a new bill and received one the next day. Still, Doyle, an economist, said he believes the process has made the city government look inefficient.
"I look at the ineptness as a cost to taxpayers," Doyle said.
Richard Jerome, who lives on Rittenhouse Street NW, said he called the tax office in September but still hasn't received a copy of his bill. He said he often discusses the situation with a neighbor who received her bill Saturday.
"Every time I see [her], she yells, 'Have you gotten your tax bill?' and I yell back, 'No!' " Jerome said. "Does it bother me? No, it doesn't bother me at all, because the only thing that would bother me is if they then try to impose a penalty. But if I end up paying next month [with no penalty], that's fine with me."
Jerome's neighbor said her bill came with a $253.94 late fee and more than $70 of interest -- along with a new filing deadline of Oct. 31. "I don't think I should have to pay that," said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It drives me nuts."
Huff said there might be one or two cases in which other factors have contributed to a billing mix-up, such as if a person asked for bills to be sent somewhere other than a home address. Residents who still need a copy of their property tax bill should call 202-727-4829 or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org, Huff said.
D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) said he will ask tax officials to investigate the billing problem.
"This should never happen again," Fenty said. "This is the biggest problem residents in upper Northwest are expressing to me."