County has tips on due date, payment plan, avoiding lines
More than half of property tax payments in Denton County have already been collected, according to officials at the county tax office.
For those who have yet to make their tax payments, a little less than a week remains to do so without penalty. By the close of January 2015, the Denton County Tax Assessor/Collector’s office had averaged an 86 percent collection rate from the county’s taxing entities it collects for.
“I would expect to be at the same amount this year,” said Michelle French, county tax assessor/collector.
It’s common each year for a bulk of the independent property payments to be made prior to the end of January, she said.
“Residents like to hang on to their money as long as they can,” French said.
Money collected through property taxes support local services offered by taxing entities including school districts, city and town governments and special districts.
As the property tax deadline approaches, the Denton Record-Chronicle talked with French about what county residents need to know prior to making their payments.
Before you pay, here are some recommendations from French:
The tax assessor/collector began collecting taxes in October. The deadline for submitting property tax payments is Jan. 31, which falls on a Sunday this year, so property owners will have an additional day to get payments in. Payments made by midnight Monday will be considered on time. French urges people paying by mail to go into the post office and make sure the payment is postmarked on or before Monday to avoid penalty.
“That’s very important,” she said.
After Feb. 2, all unpaid taxes will be subject to a 7 percent penalty and interest charge. Each month through July 1 that the taxes go unpaid, penalty and interest charges will increase 2 percent.
All real property with unpaid taxes after July 1 is considered delinquent and will be turned over to a delinquent tax attorney and charged an additional 15 percent to 20 percent payment of the total tax bill. Personal property and mobile home taxes left unpaid by April 1 will also face the same consequences.
There are options for entering into a delinquent installment agreement, French said. Certain criteria must be met, and people interested in learning more are encouraged to contact the tax assessor/collector’s office.
“It’s always good to get those taxes paid off as quickly as possible,” French said. “It can be very costly to have any taxes unpaid through July.”
Options for paying
French said there are multiple ways for making a payment: online, by mail, via a county night drop box or in person.
People who opt to pay online may do so by electronic check or by credit card. French said up to a 2.35 percent convenience fee will be applied to payments made using credit cards. She said online payments are encouraged because it eliminates time waiting in line at the county tax offices. However, she cautions county residents paying online to do so early in the day to avoid high-traffic times when the system becomes slower because of the volume of customers attempting to make a payment.
It’s recommended that customers writing out a check write their tax statement account number in the memo section of the check.
The average wait time for people making a payment in person is 15 to 20 minutes, French said. Traffic will generally pick up during the lunch hour, she said. Customers should expect a wait no longer than 40 minutes, she said. County tax offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Individuals with an “over 65” or “disabled person” exemption have options for making payments in four equal installments without facing penalty and interest charges. The first installment would be due by Feb. 1 with the three other payments due by March 31, May 31 and July 31. Property owners interested in activating the “quarter payment option” must sign their property tax payment stub or submit a written notice with their payment.
People who did not receive their tax statement are encouraged to contact the tax assessor/collector’s office or access a copy online at http://dentoncounty.com/tax.
For additional property tax questions, call 940-349-3500.
IN THE KNOW
Payments are being accepted online at http://dentoncounty.com/tax. Click on “Property Tax,” and then select “Pay Property Tax Online.”
If you’re interested in paying in person, here are locations around the county where payments are being accepted. All locations are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday:
Mary and Jim Horn Government Center, 1505 E. McKinney St., Denton; 940-349-3500 or 972-434-8835.
Lee Walker Government Center, 190 N. Valley Parkway, Suite 202, Lewisville; 972-434-4730.
The Colony Government Center, 6301 Main St., The Colony; 972-434-7250.
Sandy Jacobs Government Center, 1029 W. Rosemeade Parkway, Carrollton; 972-434-7150.
Steven E. Copeland Government Center, 1400 FM424, Cross Roads; 940-349-3510 or 972-434-8810.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.