November 29, 2014
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Save yourself the wait in line
Lonnie Barham

Tax time arrived late this year, but that hasn’t slowed things down at City Hall.

Usually the first of quarterly tax payments is due July 15. Because of a delay in printing and mailing the bills, however, the deadline was pushed to July 31. That date came and went on Tuesday, but there were still lines at the tax collector’s counter yesterday morning.

We wonder why and so does City Tax Collector Ken Mallette.

People queuing up to pay their taxes has become a rite of summer. It happens every year as soon as bills are delivered. Normally, after a week, things slow down and city crews are able to devote attention to a tsunami of checks that arrive in the mail.

Not this year, reports Mallette.

Yes, there has been a wave of mail, but also the lines persist.

Some of it, he speculates, is attributable to the bill’s lack of information about exemptions. Looking at the bill, taxpayers are confused whether the exemptions have been applied and therefore have questions. Future bills will contain more information and hopefully reduce the number of inquiries.

Even so, Mallette says many people want to hand over a check or cold cash and get a receipt. And this year there are more of them than ever.

Mallette said he’s received positive feed back with the combination of motor vehicle bills so that the owner of multiple cars receives a single bill with quarterly payment stubs. It is a help to both the vehicle owner, who can write a single check for each payment and, obviously, it reduces the processing at the city end.

And there’s some positive news on the check-processing end of things, too.

Last year the department fell far behind on depositing checks, which triggered calls from taxpayers asking if their payments had been received and when they could expect to have the funds deducted from their accounts.

Mallette said he is hopeful the department can “catch up” within the next two weeks. Mallette’s crew is getting some help from seven school crossing guards who are opening envelopes and preparing checks for deposit.

We would suggest you could also help by saving yourself the hassle of finding a parking place and standing in line, by mailing in your payment. Even though the deadline has come and gone, Mallette is waiving late fees a bit longer … certainly long enough for the Post Office to deliver your payment if you get it in the mail pronto.


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