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Hall property taxes due Monday

POSTED: December 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Have you paid your Hall County property taxes yet? Today is the deadline to pay in full without incurring late fees.

If you’ve got visions of lines at the Hall County Tax Office to rival those at holiday retailers, don’t worry. This year, there is a new way to pay your property taxes — online.

As of Nov. 1, paying your property taxes — whether individual or business — is as simple as a few clicks of your mouse. You can pay your taxes online via the Hall County government Web site using one of two payment methods: electronic check draft or credit card. You also can view the current year’s account activity.

You need to have your tax bill account number to pay online, and you also will need your bank’s routing number and your checking account number to set up an electronic draft from your checking account.

Some fees do apply for using the service. A $1.99 fee will be charged for an electronic draft from your checking account. Convenience fees of 2.59 percent of the total bill will be charged for a credit card payment. All fees are imposed and collected by Elavon Inc., the company providing the service, and do not go to Hall County government.

Of course, you always can pay in person from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the tax commissioner’s office at 300 Henry Ward Way, Suite 204 in Gainesville. The tax commissioner’s office, which can be reached at 770-531-6950, is open Monday through Friday. Those who are due a refund or adjustment also should contact the tax commissioner’s office.

Tax bills were mailed Sept. 26. After today, a 1 percent interest is levied every month the payment is late. If the bill still has not been paid in full by March 1, then a 10 percent penalty is added.

Tax Commissioner Keith Echols predicts that up to 25 percent of taxes will be delinquent this year due to the poor economy. In a typical year, Echols said 10 percent to 15 percent of taxes are expected to be delinquent. In October, Echols told the Hall County Board of Commissioners he thinks this year, anywhere from 15 percent to 25 percent of taxpayers won’t pay their bills on time.

Echols said he is aware that many people will be strapped for cash this year, and he is willing to help people pay in increments. He said many people choose not to pay their taxes all at once, so he accepted some smaller payments ahead of the due date. But by today, all county property taxes are due in full.

After March 1, Echols said he asks people to come to his office to work out a payment plan. This year, 200 did so.

Expecting lower revenue from tax collections, the Board of Commissioners recently approved a decision to furlough all employees one day a month.

The furlough requires county employees to take one day off without pay every month, which will save the county roughly $1.7 million on operating costs, but come at the cost of a nearly 5 percent salary reduction for employees.

Also in anticipation of having more bounced checks for tax payments this year, the county will work with a company called TigerTranz to make collections on bad checks. The company will charge a fee to the check writer for collection, not the county.

Echols said the county averages 280 checks for property tax payments returned annually.



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