12/20/12 — Deadline coming to pay taxes

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Deadline coming to pay taxes

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 20, 2012 1:46 PM

The lines of people at the Wayne County Tax Office trying to beat the tax deadline might not be as long as they used to be, but now is still the time to pay your bills if you want to beat the wait, county tax officials said.

Some people pay as soon as they get the bills, Wayne County Tax Administrator David Ward said.

"So there is a bit of rush there, and then other people will wait until the last minute," he said. "Mortgage companies that pay, anyone who has an escrow type account that pays their property taxes, those usually most come in around the middle to end of November. Although some stragglers may come in December.

"They add up to quite a bit of money. But our lines and rushes are usually about the last week to week and half of December and the first week of January before the deadline."

Normally Jan. 5 is the deadline, but since that falls on Saturday this year, taxpayers have until Jan. 7 to pay their bills.

"Payment should be in our office or postmarked by the U.S Postal Service by Jan. 7 to be considered paid timely and to avoid any interest," Ward said. "An office postal metering machine does not qualify. It needs to be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service.

"Two percent interest starts Jan. 8 and the first of each month after that an additional three-fourths of one percent will be added to that on any amount that is past due."

While county offices will be closed for the holidays, the tax office will be open Thursday, Dec. 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 31 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed New Year's Day and then open the rest of the week.

Ward attributes the decline in the long lines to people using the mail, drop boxes and online credit card payments. He reminds people that there is a fee associated with online payment that goes to the company providing the service and not the county.

There is a drop box on Ormond Avenue at the county courthouse annex. Boxes also are placed in the atrium just outside the tax office as well as in the office as the deadline nears so that people who are paying by check do not have to enter the office, Ward said.

The tax bill should be included in the envelope with the payment, he said.

"We prefer to have taxes paid timely," Ward said. "Depending on their situation we will try to work with them. If it is a current bill, we will try to work with them as best we can. We have said you know about what your tax bill is on your property each year. So for 2013 you know what your taxes were for 2012, and they are not going to vary much, if any. We encourage folks to divide that by 10 or 12 and starting in January just come in an make voluntary payments.

Some people, particularly the elderly or those on a fixed income, find it easier to pay their taxes almost like a utility bill or something on a monthly type basis, Ward said.