We have received several calls recently asking what the difference is between a current owner and a billed owner in regards to looking up information in Tax Collect. The simple answer is that the current owner is who owns the property right now and the billed owner is who owned the property at the time the invoice (tax bill) was created. Sounds simple enough but sometimes more details are needed to fully understand the big picture.
When discussing owners, the one thing you need to keep in mind is that Tax Collect deals with invoices (tax bills). Each invoice is created when the tax warrant is generated in Assessing and subsequently imported into Tax Collect. Once the warrant is imported, the billed owner and the current owner are the same for that specific invoice. For example, I own a property in your town. When the first issue bills are created in Assessing and imported into Tax Collect, I am the current owner and the billed owner for that one invoice.
Now, if I sold this property at some point after the first issue tax bill was generated and you imported the ownership changes from Assessing, the new owner of that property would be the current owner for all the invoices on that parcel. However, I would still be the billed owner for the first issue tax bill, as the billed owner never changes. The reason the billed owner doesn’t change is because it must match the information on the tax warrant at the time the warrant was created. Note, if a property sells multiple times, the current owner is updated on each invoice for that parcel, but the billed owner for each invoice will remain the same as it was when the invoice was created. When you are looking at the Details tab for an invoice in Tax Collect, if the Billed Owner radio button is disabled, it means the current owner and the billed owner are the same for that invoice. Likewise, if both radio buttons are enable, this indicates the current owner and the billed owner are different, simply select each radio button to display the owner information.
So, why is it important to know both the current and the billed owner for an invoice? Well, there are a couple reasons. First, the billed owner helps you find an invoice when there has been a change of ownership and the only information that was sent to you was from the billed owner. Secondly, you may need to know who was billed and where the tax bill was sent. Basically, the billed owner lookup option not only helps you find an invoice, but can also give you historical information on who was billed and where the bill was sent.
To summarize, the billed owner matches the tax warrant and never changes. The current owner will change as often as the property sells and you import your owner changes from Assessing.