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Tax savings accounts now offered in Berrien County

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- With one out of every 10 property owners in Berrien County behind on their taxes, the county treasurer is hoping a new tax savings account program will help people catch up and then get ahead.

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski has partnered with five local banks so property owners can open a tax savings account.

The account will give taxpayers a place to save strictly for their property taxes, and earn some interest on it, without needing a minimum balance.

Witkowski said the number of people behind on their taxes has stayed steady in Berrien County since the recession.

He said he hopes these accounts will help some get ahead, even though the economy may seem strong right now.

“I think people have to understand it could be you next,” Witkowski said. “You could lose your job and be in trouble. You could have a health issue and you can be in trouble. There’s just a lot of varieties that put a lot of families in desperate need.”

The savings accounts will work just like a Christmas savings account that you’d open to save for presents.

Witkowski said if enough people use it, taxpayers will ultimately save hundreds of thousands because they won’t have to pay interest and penalties charged when you fall behind on property tax payments.

If you’re interested in opening a tax savings account, you can stop by Edgewater Bank, United Federal Credit Union, New Buffalo Savings, Honor Credit Union or 1st Source Bank.

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