Durham property tax relief program delayed, processing applications as quickly as possible

ByDiane Wilson and McClaren Hopper WTVD logo
Friday, December 15, 2023
Property tax relief program delayed in Durham
A retired homeowner living in Durham applied for property tax relief months ago. With time quickly running out, he remained stuck wondering what to do -- until ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson got involved.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A retired homeowner living in Durham applied for property tax relief months ago, and with time quickly running out, he remained stuck wondering what to do.

The Low Income Homeowners Relief (LIHR) in Durham is meant to help qualified homeowners pay their property taxes.

Jeffery Karasik applied for the program over the summer and waited patiently to see if he qualified. This program would save Karasick and his wife significant money on their property taxes.

"We don't have the income that we used to. Now we both basically live on Social Security, and you know, whatever little savings we have," he said.

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The couple qualified last year for the program and said it was a huge financial help. Last year, the approval process took a mere weeks.

However this year, Karasik said after months of waiting for word from Durham County, he called and went to the office in Durham to get answers about when his application would be processed. Unfortunately, the people there just told him there were delays. Weeks before his property taxes were due in Durham County, he still didn't know if he would qualify for the relief.

"Just nobody would ever return calls or answer the call."

He decided to contact Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

"Nothing happened, really, until you, you know, you got involved," Karasik told Wilson.

A representative from Durham County provided this statement about the LIHR:

"The County's Tax Office converted from a tax software that they had utilized for over the past 25 years to a Windows-based platform. The conversion involved migrating a minimum of 10 years of all county tax data. Some aspects of syncing the many components of the old system to the new system took much longer than anticipated, which caused the delay of generating and printing current tax bills. Our Aging and Adult Services Division which operates the LIHR program, currently has 335 applications that they are processing. Their goal is to have the applications processed as quickly as possible."

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After Wilson got involved, it didn't take long for Karasik to get his letter in the mail confirming that he was approved for the program.

He's very happy he now has this tax property relief. He said it's a massive help to his budget. If you're still waiting, the representative from the county said they're processing all of the applications as quickly as possible.