12/03/10 — Deadline looming for tax payment

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Deadline looming for tax payment

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 3, 2010 1:46 PM

The countdown to Christmas isn't the only deadline that is rapidly approaching for Wayne County residents -- the holiday is followed less than two weeks later by the due date for property owners to pay their 2010 county and municipal taxes.

"The 2010 bills that everybody received, they have until Jan. 5 to pay them before interest starts accruing," Wayne County Tax Administrator David Ward said. "Then on Jan. 6, anything that hasn't been paid, 2 percent interest will be added. The first of each following month, an additional three-fourths of one percent will be added to that until they are paid."

There are several options people can use to pay their bills.

"You can either go online or by phone and make your payment that way," Ward said. "You do need your bill with you because you need a couple of numbers off that bill. You need the tax year, which will be 2010, and the abstract number off of that."

There are additional fees associated with paying online or by phone. The fee goes to the company processing the payment and not the county.

"There is a convenience fee and that fee is on a graduated scale depending on the amount that you are paying," Ward said.

"During the process when you are doing it, it lets you know what the fee will be prior to you hitting commitment. You can always opt out if you do not want to pay the fee," Assistant Tax Administrator Alan Lumpkin said.

The telephone number and the website are listed on the tax bill and on the tax office's official website. People may go to www.waynegov.com, click on departments and then select tax department.

People also may pay their bill at the tax office on the first floor of the county courthouse annex. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office will be closed Dec. 21, 22, 23, 24 and 27 for Christmas and Dec. 31 for New Year's.

"We also have our drop box on Ormond Avenue. People can drop it in there and we clean that out daily," Lumpkin said. "Also, when we get really busy toward the end of December, we have a drop box inside the lobby. If there is a line, they don't have to wait in line and can just drop it off in that box. We provide an envelope. They need to have their bill with them to do that."

The outside box looks similar to a mailbox, but is marked "tax office," he said.

People should not leave cash in either box, Ward said.

Tax bills can be mailed as well. Payments that are mailed must have a U.S. Post Office official postmark of no later than Jan. 5 to be counted as being on time.

"If it is an office metering machine, we don't consider that," Ward said.

If there are problems with paying, people should contact the tax office, he said.

"First off, we need you to pay all that you can," Ward said. "Someone in that situation would have hopefully called us several months ago in order to break it up and pay so much monthly. If you can't pay it all by the deadline, pay as much as you can.

"Depending on what amount that is left that goes delinquent, we are going to try and work with somebody, but it is going to depend on the situation and the kind of money that we are talking about."

People may make arrangements to pay the bill in advance over a period of time, he said.

"We don't set up arrangements in the office," he said. "We suggest to people you know about what your taxes were for 2010. If you want to take that and divide it by 10 or 12 and starting late January pay a little each month on that. You will actually have to come into the office and pay it.

"We will take that and receipt you on it. Then, once the bills are created to be mailed, usually next August, anything that you have paid would be applied and when your bill goes out it would show the difference you owe. We actually have quite a few folks taking advantage of that. They find it a little bit easier to do it that way. It is like paying our light bill or anything else."

Personal tax listing will be Jan. 3 through Jan. 31. for items such as boats, mobile homes and unlicensed motor vehicles.

People who fail to list during January will be subject to a late-listing penalty.

Land and houses are automatically listed.

"If you have made any changes to your property -- additions, remodeling, adding a deck, adding outbuildings -- anything that you have done during 2010 to January 2011 you are required by statute to report that to us," Ward said. "Also, if you tore something down. If you had an outbuilding or something or you have done away with something, report that to us in January."

Business listing will be ongoing at the same time and business owners will receive an abstract on which to list their personal property, he said.