News Column

Tax administrator considers options to lower online payment fees

August 3, 2014

By Chris Lavender, Times-News, Burlington, N.C.



Aug. 03--GRAHAM -- County Tax Administrator Jeremy Akins wants to see his department's online payment options become more competitive by lowering fees charged for those using credit cards to pay county tax bills.

Akins said the county as a government entity can't absorb fees charged by credit companies. Customers' fees for those using credit cards are on average 7 percent of the total bill. Akins said the higher fees present a barrier for some who seek to pay their bills online. Akins said the county is conducting a review on how the fees might be lowered.

Akins is scheduled to discuss this issue with the Alamance County Board of Commissioners at 9 a.m. Monday during a scheduled board meeting. The meeting will be held in the county administration building at 124 W. Elm St., Graham.

Akins said the tax department began processing all mail-in county tax payments this tax year instead of using a payment processing facility run by BB&T in Charlotte. The tax department opted to process the mail-in payments in house to save money. The department implemented new check scanning technology to help with the process, which allows the checks' images to be indexed online and easier for the tax department to access.

Akins said he was satisfied with the county's property tax collection rate of 97.79 percent for tax year 2013 since it was higher than the 97.1 percent rate for 2012. The county's five-year average for property tax rate collections is 96.80 percent.

According to the tax department, the county has collected $63,804,154 in property taxes for tax year 2013 with $1,440,872 uncollected. Akins said his staff would continue to work to collect the outstanding bills.

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(c)2014 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.)

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Source: Times-News (Burlington, NC)


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