As the coronavirus pandemic leads to business closures and job losses, Norfolk is giving people more time to pay taxes.
At a modified meeting Tuesday night — with the public not allowed but able to watch by video from the City Hall lobby — City Council approved a slate of tax delays meant to give relief to homeowners and businesses.
“There’s going to be some difficult days ahead,” Mayor Kenny Alexander said as the council passed the resolution.
The move means Norfolk residents and businesses won’t have to pay any late fees for real estate taxes or personal property taxes due between March 24 and Aug. 1, effectively pushing the due dates off by several months. The city will also give businesses an extra 60 days to pay any meals, admissions, occupancy or hotel taxes that would be due in April, May or June.
This is especially important for restaurants who are facing extreme economic pressure, having been forced to close down or shift to takeout and delivery only. Some local restaurant owners and employees have called for even more to be done, including efforts that would take state or federal action.
In addition to delaying due dates for tax payment, convenience fees such as additional costs for paying a bill by credit card will be waived through June 30 for those who do pay Norfolk tax bills while the pandemic is ongoing.
However, the city is asking that residents and businesses still file by the deadline, even if they don’t pay until later. For real estate taxes, for instance, that’s June 5.
City Manager Chip Filer said knowing how much money will be coming eventually is critical as the city plans a budget, knowing revenues will be severely impacted by the pandemic.