"The whole theory here is to speed up the process, save taxpayers' money," explained Mark Hensley, Scott County collector.
Up until this year, convenience cards providing proof that personal property taxes were paid were printed in advance and filed by the collector's office.
"It's been done the same way for as long as I can remember," Hensley said. "In past years, what we've done is you come in to pay your taxes and I have staff who pull the receipts. We no longer pull those receipts; they're printed at the time of payment now."
Beginning this year, the convenience cards will actually be at the bottom of the tax receipt itself perforated for easy removal at the taxpayer's convenience. Overall the tax receipt itself still looks pretty much the same, except "paid" will be printed instead of stamped.
"The main difference in the appearance is mostly on the reverse side of the receipt," Hensley said. "The county logo will be printed on the back."
While some people are uncomfortable with change, this change as well as others implemented over the last couple of years are all for the better, according to the collector.
"The statement has the bar code. The bar code we've been doing for a few years now," Hensley said. "What we do is we scan it in, bring it up on the computer, verify the information and then post it as paid all at the same time now. All receipts will be printed at the time of processing. Hopefully this will speed up the process tremendously."
Real estate property tax receipts have also been changed. "What's new for real estate is you'll also have a certificate of payment card for your CPA or taxes," Hensley said. "You can then retain the receipt for your files."
For both personal and property taxes, "I think the overall results will be quicker service," he said. "The receipts themselves will be more legible - laser printing is a lot clearer than dot matrix or carbonless receipts."
Personal property tax receipts will also have a new look in Mississippi County, where they will no longer simply list the number vehicles owned.
"Personal receipts will have the model, make and year of the car printed on the receipt," said Faye Elliot, Mississippi County collector. "They'll have to take the receipt to the license bureau instead of the card."
There will be no convenience cards offered this year. "They'll have to take the receipt because it will have the description of what you have."
The new system may take some getting used to in Mississippi County as well. "We had the old ones for years, but the assessor changed his program so I changed the receipt to match the program," she said.
Like the tax receipt, the assessment sheet will also list specific vehicles, she explained.
"You don't have to fill it in like you used to," Elliot said. If the vehicles listed on the assessment form are correct, the taxpayer simply signs the form and returns it. Taxpayers will mark out any vehicles no longer owned. If a new vehicle has been purchased, however, the taxpayer will be required to write it in.
"I think it will be great," said Elliot. "It's our first year and we'll see what's what, but I think it's a good thing."
New Madrid County taxpayers won't see any changes - yet.
"Next year we'll be looking at a Website," said New Madrid's Collector of Revenue Dewayne Nowlin, "but right now were not having any changes for this tax seasons... it was too close to tax season to make those changes."
Next year, however, New Madrid County tax payers should look for the collector to be scanning tax bills in and to offer an online payment option. A new look for forms from his office may also be in the works.
Hensley said his office hopes to have their Website up in a couple of weeks but also does not plan to offer online payment until next year. "It's something to look forward to in the future," he said.
Nearly 40,000 tax statements went out in Scott County Friday, about the same number as last year, according to Hensley. "Collections have been pretty good. We've had a steady flow," Hensley said Monday. "If you have not received a tax statement by the first week of December, whether personal or real estate, please contact my office."
On the Net: www.missouricollectors.org