News Column

Calif. Property Taxes Due

April 10, 2013

Property taxes are due today throughout California, and tax collectors are warning people to not mistake the date with next week's income-tax payment deadline.

"Some taxpayers are confused between property taxes' second installment due date of April 10 and the IRS due date of April 15," said Jegan Raja, Stanislaus County's assistant treasurer-tax collector.

Mixing up the two could prove expensive for landowners because penalties are stiff for late property tax payments. Not only is there a 10 percent upfront fine for delinquent property tax payments, but the tax collector adds interest charges at a rate of 18 percent per year.

About 175,000 parcels in Stanislaus must pay property taxes, including about 122,500 homes. More than $404.5 million in property tax bills were issued for the 2012-13 tax year. The first half of those taxes were due last December. The second half must be paid by today.

Mailing payments today is OK as long as the envelopes they're in get postmarked today. Postmarks after that will trigger penalties. Payments can be made online or by telephone using a Visa or MasterCard, or by authorizing an electric fund transfer from a bank checking or savings account.

For credit cards or fund transfers, call (866) 276-8196 or go online to www.stancounty.com/tr-tax/tax-disclaimer2.shtm. There is a 2.5 percent fee for paying by credit card and a $2.50 fee for transferring funds from a checking or savings account.

People can pay by check, money order or cashier's check in person at the Stanislaus County tax collector's office, 1010 10th Street, Suite 2500, Modesto. That counter, however, cannot accept credit card payments or electronic fund transfers. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information in Stanislaus, call (209) 525-6388 or email taxes@stancounty.com.

State and federal income taxes, meanwhile, are due Monday. They can be paid online or through the mail.

Taxpayers who need more time to finish their returns can get an automatic six-month extension.

The fastest and easiest way to get the extra time is through the "Free File" link at IRS.gov. That free service allows anyone to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868.

While that extends the deadline to file, it does not extend the time to pay. By properly filing the extension form, however, taxpayers avoid late-filing penalties. Late-payment penalties may be reduced or eliminated.

Taxpayers who are having trouble paying the income taxes they owe may qualify for payment plans and other relief. Those who owe $50,000 or less can set up a monthly payment agreement for up to 72 months.

Details on all filing and payment options are at www.irs.gov.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at jnsbranti@modbee.com or (209) 578-2196.

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(c)2013 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)

Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at www.modbee.com

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Source: Copyright Modesto Bee (CA) 2013


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