By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (January 26, 2017) – Property owners who want to avoid penalties and interest on their taxes better act fast.
Tax Accessor/Collector Jennifer Carey said Tuesday is the deadline, and unpaid taxes will begin to accrue penalties and interest on February 1.
“All mailed payments must have a post office postmark in order to be counted as a January payment,” Carey said, also reminding taxpayers that failure to sign their checks makes the payment invalid and could them past the deadline.
In-person payments must be made during business hours on Tuesday to qualify as being on time.
Property owners can also submit payment through texaspayments.com, an online service that allows individuals to select their county, search by name, see the amount due for 2016 and submit a credit card, debit card, PayPal or e-check payment.
Carey said all credit and debit card users, whether paying online or in the local tax office, are charged a convenience fee. Mastercard, Visa and Discover card users are charged a 3.2 percent fee. The fee is slightly higher for American Express and PayPal payments.
The total amount of the convenience fee is shown on the Texas Payments website after the user selects their preferred method of payment.
E-check payments are charged a flat $5 fee.
All online payments must be made prior to midnight on February 1, but Carey suggests logging on earlier since payments can be delayed by processing errors or internet connectivity issues.
Meanwhile she said late fees are charged on any remaining balance and encourages taxpayers to make whatever payment possible prior to the deadline.
“Penalties and interest only apply to the remaining balance, so making partial payments will save money in the long run,” she said.
On February 1, delinquent taxpayers will be charged an additional seven percent – a six-percent penalty and one percent in interest, and those amounts increase monthly until taxes are paid in full.
“The same penalty is applied to those who pay on February 1 and February 28, but the penalties and interest go up about two percent each month the bills remain delinquent,” Carey said. “In July, the fees jump to 18 percent plus an additional 20 percent attorney fee.”
Taxpayers with mobile homes and/or business personal property are being advised to pay their balance prior to April 1, because those unpaid taxes will start accruing attorney fees on that date.
Meanwhile Carey said penalties and fees are set by state statute and cannot be waived by anyone in either of the county’s tax offices.
The Stephenville tax office is located at 320 West College Street and can be reached by telephone by calling 254-965-8630.
The Dublin office is at 219 South Grafton Street, and the phone number there is 445-4152.