October 8, 2007

Wright County E-payment for property taxes starts today

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

Wright County Auditor-Treasurer Bob Hiivala said people have been asking for years if they can put their property taxes on a credit card. Starting today, they can.

“This change is three years overdue,” Hiivala said.

He explained that he wanted to make this option available sooner, but the county plans to change its tax software next year, and didn’t want to spend a lot of money to modify the existing system. The change implemented this week will work with the new system, Hiivala said.

Residents wishing to use the E-payment option to pay their taxes by E-check or credit or debit cards can start by going to the county’s web site, www.co.wright.mn.us/.

There will be a button for property tax search.

People can look up their tax bill, and choose to pay online by E-check or credit card.

Hiivala said that the web site currently does not reflect late fees or delinquencies, and anyone who has a question about these fees will need to call one of the support phone numbers listed on the site to get their total tax amount due.

Residents using the E-payment service will be transferred from the Wright County web site to the secure site of the third-party service provider, US Bank.

They will have to enter information such as name, address, e-mail address, and they will have to put in the tax amount they wish to pay.

There is a convenience fee for using the E-payment service. The fee goes to US Bank, not to the county.

Those using the E-check option will need to enter routing information from their check. There is a flat fee of $1 for using the E-check option.

Those who wish to pay by credit card must pay a fee of 2.25 percent. On a tax bill of $2,000, for example, the fee would be $45, Hiivala said.

He added that at 2.25 percent, Wright County has secured the lowest negotiated rate for the service.

Hiivala said some residents may choose to pay by credit card rather than paying taxes late. There is a 2 percent penalty for paying taxes after the due date, he added.

After confirming the payment, taxpayers will receive an e-mail confirmation of the transaction.

Property taxes are due Monday, Oct. 15, and Hiivala advises residents not to wait until 11:55 p.m. on the 15th to pay their taxes.

“There are several pages (on the web site) to get through, and we have to go by the date US Bank confirms the payment,” Hiivala explained.

On a related note, Hiivala said residents paying their taxes by mail should not just leave their tax payment in their mail box with the flag up and hope it gets picked up in time. He said they should bring their tax payments to the post office to make sure they get postmarked by Oct. 15, because the postmark is what the county uses to determine if payment was made on time.

By offering the credit card payment option, the county is not advocating the use of credit for tax payments, but is offering a service that residents have requested.

“We hope that people are using their credit cards prudently,” Hiivala said.

Hiivala said the new tax payment options are just the latest features the county has added to provide information to residents.

Some of the current features include an option to print the last three years of tax statements. Hiivala said this is especially popular when people purchase a home. They can see prior year taxes, and can pay their taxes on time if the tax statement is mailed to the former owner.

The site also includes information about property sales, assessments, and appraisals.

Hiivala said this is just the beginning. He hopes to make the county web site even more useful for residents in the future.

Want to pay your taxes online?

Wright County residents can pay taxes online, and get other valuable information about their property by going to www.co.wright.mn.us/.

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