Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I own that is subject to taxes?

2. How is the tax rate established?

3. What is the best way to pay my tax bill?

4. What happens if I pay late?

5. Can the interest on my tax bill be waived?

6. What if I never received a tax bill?

7. Can I pay my taxes at my local bank?

8. Should I save part of this bill for my next payment?

9. I am being improperly billed for a motor vehicle. What should I do?

10. I recently replaced a vehicle, and still got a tax bin on the old vehicle. Do I have to pay it?

11. I need to register my car. What do I need from the Tax Collector's Office?

12. I have moved. What is my tax jurisdiction for motor vehicle taxes?

13. What is a "supplemental" motor vehicle tax bill?

14. My bill says "back taxes due." What does that mean?

15. My real estate bill is supposed to be paid by my mortgage company. What should I do?

16. How is my motor vehicle assessment determined?

17. What are the office hours of the Tax Collector?

18. Are there long lines at Town Hall?

19. Could I be eligible for any exemptions?

20. Are there any breaks for senior citizens?

21. What period of time does this bill cover?

22. What is being done to collect delinquent taxes?

23. Why is sewer use billed separately, and why does everyone pay the same rate?

24. Do I need to save my receipts?

25. What if I think my assessment is too high?

26. When are taxes due?

1. What do I own that is subject to taxes?
Three types of property are assessed and subject to taxes: Real Estate, Motor Vehicle, and Personal Property. Any land or buildings you own are considered real estate. Registered motorized or unmotorized vehicles, (including cars, trucks, trailers and motorcycles) are considered motor vehicles for tax purposes. Personal property is a general category including business equipment, machinery, furniture and fixtures either owned or leased by business. Unregistered motor vehicles are also taxed..

2. How is the tax rate established?
The property tax rate is expressed in mills, or thousandths of a dollar. A tax rate (mill rate) of 39.97 mills is equivalent to $39.97 in taxes per $1,000 of net assessed value. The 10 member elected Town Council sets the mill rate annually in May as part of the municipal budget process.

3. What is the best way to pay my tax bill?
The most convenient way to pay your tax bill is by mail. A courtesy reply envelope is included with your tax bill for this purpose. Be sure to write your list numbers on your check. If you wish to have a receipt returned to you, please send the entire tax bill (both portions) and a self-addressed stamped envelope with your payment. You may expect to receive a receipt back within a few days. We will not send back your receipt if you fail to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or entire bill.

4. What happens if I pay late?
Taxes are due on July 1, payable by August 1. You have a one-month "grace "period in which to pay without penalty. If August 1 falls on a Sunday, you will have until August 2 in which to pay, in person or by mail. Bills in the amount of $100 or less are due in a single installment at this time. Bills in excess of $100 are due in two installments. The second installment of these bills will come due January 1, payable by February 1.
Past due payments are subject to interest at the rate of one and one half percent per month from the due date of the tax (July 1), as required by state law. Payments made on August 2 and later, including payments postmarked August 2 and later, are considered past due and will incur 3% interest, representing two months' delinquency (July and August). Payments bearing a postmark of August 1 are considered timely. The town is required by law to accept the postmark as the date of payment.

5. Can the interest on my tax bill be waived?
No. The Tax Collector does not have the authority to waive interest and makes no exceptions. As owners of property, taxpayers are responsible to see that taxes are paid when due.

6. What if I never received a tax bill?
Failure to have received a tax bill does not exempt you from payment of all taxes and all interest charges. If you do not receive a bill for which you are responsible, call the Tax Collector's Office at (203) 385-4030 and request a copy.  A charge of $.50 per bill will be charged.

7. Can I pay my taxes at my local bank?
During the collection period only, taxpayers may pay their current tax bills (no back taxes) at Stratford branch offices of People's United Bank.  You do not have to be a customer of the bank in order to pay there. Bring your entire bill (both portions) and your payment. The bank will receipt your portion of the bill. The remaining portion of your bill is forwarded to the Tax Collector's Office, where your account is updated. For locations of participating branches, call the Tax Collector's Office at (203) 385-4030.

8. Should I save part of this bill for my next payment?
Yes. The Town of Stratford only sends one bill for July and January installments.  A $.50 reprint charge will be imposed if you don't have your bill. 

9. I am being improperly billed for a motor vehicle. What should I do?
A: Contact the Assessor's Office at (203) 385-4025. Do not ignore your bill! Even if your vehicle has been sold, and plates returned to DMV, stolen and not recovered, declared a total loss; or if you have moved from Stratford or moved from Connecticut. If any of these situations applies to you, you may be entitled to a credit. Contact the Assessors for information regarding the acceptable forms of proof for the issuance of a credit. Two forms of written proof are required, and you must apply for the credit within a limited time.

10. I recently replaced a vehicle, and still got a tax bill on the old vehicle. Do I have to pay it?
Yes. If you replaced one vehicle with another, and used the same license plates, you will receive a pro-rated Supplemental motor vehicle tax bill in January for the new vehicle. You will receive a credit on the supplemental bill for the amount you pay now on the old vehicle. You will receive this credit without having to apply for it. However, you still must pay the entire amount due on the old vehicle (including the January installment, if applicable). If you obtained new license plates for the new vehicle, you must apply for a credit. Contact the Assessors Office at (203) 385-4025.

11. I need to register my car. What do I need from the Tax Collector's Office?
If you owe delinquent property taxes on any vehicle in your name, you may not renew any registrations at the Department of Motor Vehicles without paying your taxes first. All taxes in your name must be paid in full by cash for over night clearance. For payments made by check, clearance will be given after ten business days. All outstanding vehicle taxes in your name, including taxes not yet delinquent, must be paid, including a release fee, in order for a release to be issued. This includes the January installment.

12. I have moved. What is my tax jurisdiction for motor vehicle taxes?
Your tax town is your town of residency as of October 1. If you move from Stratford after October 1 - but still reside in Connecticut, you will still pay vehicle taxes to Stratford. Municipalities within Connecticut do not apportion motor vehicle tax bills for portions of a tax year. If you register the vehicle in another state, contact the Assessor's Office.

If you move, you must notify the Department of motor Vehicles of your new address within 48 hours. Be sure that you request a change of address on your driver's license and on your vehicle registration(s). Postcards for this are available at the Tax Collector's Office or the Police Department.

13. What is a "supplemental" motor vehicle tax bill?
If you newly registered a motor vehicle after October 1, (first time registration), you should expect to receive a pro-rated tax bill in January. This "supplemental" bill will reflect the time from the month the vehicle was first registered, through September only.

14. My bill says "back taxes due." What does that mean?
According to office records, there are past due taxes in your name or on the parcel of property in question. Call (203) 385-4030 for updated interest charges on what you already owe. Back taxes and interest must be paid in full before payment on current bills can be accepted. Any payment you send in toward your current bills will be applied to the back taxes.

15. My real estate bill is supposed to be paid by my mortgage company. What should I do?
If this is the case, you should not be receiving a real estate tax bill in the mail. Please write your loan number on your bill, and immediately forward it to your mortgage company with a note. The appropriate address for this purpose should be given in your mortgage payment coupon book.

16. How is my motor vehicle assessment determined?
Standard price guidelines are used in determining the value of motor vehicles. Assessments for tax purposes are based upon 70% of average retail value, as determined by the Assessor.

17. What are the office hours of the Tax Collector?
The Tax Collector's Office, located in the Stratford Town Hall, 2725 Main Street, is open Monday through Friday, 8 am. - 4 PM. The office will also be offering extended hours during collection periods. Call for hours.

18. Are there long lines at Town Hall?
During the months of July and January, yes. You should expect to wait in line if you are coming during this period. Lines are longest at lunchtime, and as the last day to pay approaches. When paying in person, bring all portions of your bill with you, and write your list numbers on your check for faster service

19. Could I be eligible for any exemptions?
You may be. The exemption categories include Veteran; Spouse of a deceased Veteran; Blind; Totally Disabled; Motor vehicle of a Serviceman or Servicewoman (active duty); Farmers / Merchants; and Forest, Farm and Open Space. For details about these exemptions, or if you think you may qualify, contact the Assessors Office at (203) 385-4025.

20. Are there any breaks for senior citizens?
Yes. 
If you or your spouse are age 65 or older, permanently reside in Stratford (legal residence), either own your own home or rent, and meet certain income restrictions, you may be eligible for one or more forms of town or state-financed tax relief. To inquire about income eligibility requirements, or for information about these programs, contact the Assessor's Office at (203) 385-4025, or the Baldwin Center.

21. What period of time does this bill cover?
Motor vehicle tax bills sent in July 2011 cover the time from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011. They may be due in two installments. Sewer use bills sent in July 2011 cover the time period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. They may be due in two installments. There is no statutory rule concerning the time period covered by real estate tax bills. If you buy or sell real estate, adjustments for real estate taxes will be made by the attorneys who are handling the closing. Care should be taken to ensure taxes are paid, particularly when a closing occurs within 60 days of a tax billing.

22. What is being done to collect delinquent taxes?
Collection of past due accounts is enforced by use of the various remedies available under the law, including: withholding and / or suspension of motor vehicle registrations; filling of tax liens; sale of real property at public auction (tax sale); levy and seizure of taxable goods and chattels, with subsequent sale and distribution; withholding, suspension or revocation of licenses or permits required in the operation of a business, including health permits; denial of building permits on tax delinquent property; and garnishment of wages. Also: Seizure of assets; seizure of bank accounts; issuance of alias tax warrants for collection by sheriff or constable; initiation of suit to collect or foreclosure proceedings; and assignment of tax liens. The Stratford Tax Collector's office is sincerely committed to the efficient collection of past due taxes.

23. Why is sewer use billed separately, and why does everyone pay the same rate?
Sewer use charges are levied by the Water Pollution Control Authority, and are billed separately in accordance with the town charter. Residential users are charged a flat unit charge, while commercial and industrial users are billed by consumption (actual prior usage). Because the town must purchase consumption data from an outside source, at this time, it is less costly to bill only commercial and industrial users based upon actual prior usage.

24. Do I need to save my receipts?
Yes. Taxpayers are advised to save their receipts for 15 years, the length of time during which municipal taxes are collectible. Everyone paying at the Tax Office window must be issued a receipt. Payments may be dropped off in the drop off box. Taxpayers should retain their own payment information for purposes of claiming tax credits and filling out their federal and state income tax forms. Requests for information about payments made in prior fiscal years must be in writing, and there is a fee for duplicate receipts.

25. What if I think my assessment is too high?
Your first appeal should be directed to the Assessor, and then to the Board of Assessment Appeals, a citizen board which meets in February and September. If you are dissatisfied with the Boards decision, you may take your appeal to the Superior Court within 2 months of the Boards action. Appearance before the Board is required, but you do not need to hire an attorney. Documentation substantiating your appeal should be presented at that time. For more information about the appeals process, contact the Assessor's Office at (203) 385-4025.

26. When are taxes due?

Tax bills are payable during the months of July and January. Tax bills in amounts under the $100 are payable in full during the month of July. Bills over $100 may be paid in two installments (1st half in July and second half during the following January). Motor vehicle supplemental bills, which are issued for vehicles registered between October 2nd and July 31st, are due and payable in full during January.

A state mandated interest change of 1.5% per month (minimum of $2.00) is applied against all late payments.

Additional Links

Contact Information

2725 Main Street, Stratford, Connecticut 06615.

Phone: (203) 385-4030
Fax: (203) 381-2059
Email: TaxCollector
@townofstratford.com


Office Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00am to 4:00pm.
Weekend hours are announced during tax collection periods.