Monday, July 28, 2014

Second-half property tax deadline nearing

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/26/2013

April 15 is a date most Americans recognize as the deadline to file their income taxes.

But for Franklin County property owners, May 10 also is significant because that’s the deadline to pay the second half of their 2012 property tax bills to the Franklin County Treasurer’s Office, 315 S. Main St., Ottawa.

April 15 is a date most Americans recognize as the deadline to file their income taxes.

But for Franklin County property owners, May 10 also is significant because that’s the deadline to pay the second half of their 2012 property tax bills to the Franklin County Treasurer’s Office, 315 S. Main St., Ottawa.

“If property owners didn’t make their full payment in December, the second-half payment is due May 10,” Debbie Hough, Franklin County treasurer, said.

Property owners should not be watching for a second-half tax statement to arrive in their mailboxes.

“We mail one statement in November, which contains two payment stubs at the bottom of the statement for the December and May payments,” Hough said. “Property owners who did not pay their full tax bill [in December] and need to pay the second half of their taxes can tear off that second stub on the bottom of their statements and mail it in with their May payments.”

The treasurer’s office stopped sending out second-half statements a few years ago to save the county the cost of a second mailing, Hough said.

“We’ve had good luck doing the one statement, and I think several other counties do it that way now,” Hough said.

Property owners can pay their taxes in several ways, Hough said, including bringing the payment to the treasurer’s office, mailing the payment to the treasurer’s office or paying online.

An increasing number of residents also are using the county’s payment drop box, Hough said, which is a “convenient and safe” way to make a payment after business hours. The drop box, with the words “Franklin County Payments” written on it, is located in front of the courthouse on the Main Street side, Hough said.

“It’s a stainless steel box that’s locked and secure, and it’s checked each morning,” Hough said. “It’s gaining popularity among our customers, because they can make their payments after-hours, and it saves the cost of postage.”

For those who want to pay online, go to the county’s website — www.franklincoks.org — click on the “Departments” tab and go to “Treasurer’s Office.” On the treasurer’s page, go to the “Online Payments” icon on the left side of the page and follow the prompts. There is a small transaction fee to use the online option, Hough said.

“It will tell you the amount [of the transaction fee], so you can decide if you want to pay that fee or use a different payment method,” Hough said.

“The May 10 deadline still sneaks up on some people, because the deadline used to be June 20,” Hough said. “Even though it changed a few years ago, people still have a hard time getting into that mindset.”

For those who miss the May 10 deadline, Hough said, her office sends out a courtesy letter by the second week of June as a reminder. For those who do not make their second-half property tax payments by the end of July, their names will appear on a list of unpaid taxes published in the newspaper each August, which is required by state statute, she said.

The treasurer’s office mailed about 18,000 tax statements — totaling $31,316,868.06 — to Franklin County property owners in November, Hough said.

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