The DeKalb County Trustee's Office was a busy place Monday as last minute taxpayers hurried to beat the deadline for payment of 2010 property taxes without penalty.
For those who didn't beat the deadline, a 1.5% per month penalty and interest will begin to accrue on 2010 taxes yet unpaid, starting March 1st.
Trustee Sean Driver said as of the close of business Monday, February 28th, collections were at 86.5%, which is almost as much as one year ago. "A lot of people came in today, even though it was a bad rainy day. We received a lot of mail today and I'm assuming more mail will come in the next two days, as far as postmarked mail and we'll be able to add to our collection percentages. As of right now, (February 28th) I finished with 86.5% in collections. That's about 1-1/2% off what it was this time last year but that can change with incoming mail tomorrow. From total tax rolls, which is $6.8 million, there's still about $950,000 that's still floating out there (yet to be collected). Of course a lot of people are out of work. We understand that. We wish we could do a whole lot more for them."
Driver said taxes may still be paid in person, or by debit or credit card either by phone, in the trustee's office or on-line at www.tennesseetrustee.com. " We are offering credit and debit card processing through the Business Information Systems for the property owners of DeKalb County. You may pay your property taxes using a VISA, MASTERCARD, or DISCOVER card. It can be handled on-line, in the Trustee's Office, or by phone."
In addition to the monthly accrued penalty and interest, Driver explained that a 2.75% convenience fee will be added to your tax bill, if you take advantage of on-line payment. However that convenience fee is collected through Business Information Systems, not the county. "If you want to do those payments on line, it is fast, easy, and secure. On-line payments may be made at www.tennesseetrustee.com. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also pay your taxes with the accrued penalty and interest in our office at 1 public square, room 206 in the DeKalb County Courthouse. Our phone number is 615-597-5176. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m."
Driver said he is also looking into the possibility of implementing a plan in the future where taxpayers could make partial payments during the year until their entire tax bill is paid. "We are looking into accepting partial payments. We're trying to work with the Clerk and Master on trying to get some kind of program up on that. We do need to get caught up further on prior year taxes."
Meanwhile, property taxes from 2009 may be paid in the trustee's office through Thursday, March 31st with the accrued interest and penalty. After that, unpaid 2009 taxes will be turned over to the clerk and master's office and subject to additional fees.