BENTON -- Residents of Scott and New Madrid counties can save themselves a trip to the courthouse this year by paying their property taxes over the Internet.
"We just felt it would be a convenience to the taxpayer," Scott County Collector Mark Hensley said. "Just another way of trying to serve Scott County taxpayers."
Dewayne Nowlin, N
ew Madrid County collector, said he hopes to be able to accept Internet payments as early as Monday.
"We think that Dec. 1 will be the date we're going online with Internet payments," Hensley said. "We haven't really done the testing on it yet - we're in that stage right now."
Scott County's tax statements were mailed last week and New Madrid County's go out this weekend.
"The Web site address is going to be on the statement," Nowlin said.
At the Web site, taxpayers select their county on the drop-down list which will bring them to their county collector's page.
A "pay county taxes" link there will take taxpayers to a page where they enter a number which appears on the tax statement. "This is done for added security and privacy for the taxpayers," Hensley said.
"If they have any delinquent taxes it will bring up that, too, and they will have to pay that before they can pay their current taxes in this system," Nowlin said.
Official Payments Corporation was contracted by the state to accept bank debits cards, credit cards and eChecks, according to Nowlin.
"They are a very reputable company - they collect for the IRS and they also handle several major cities in the U.S.," he said.
"The charge card fees is 2.75 percent - that's a fee that is charged by the processing company, and that fee stays with them," Hensley said. The cost for eCheck is $2.75 per check.
"Legally we can not absorb those costs and use taxpayer money to pay those fees," Hensley said, "so those fees will be passed on to the taxpayers."
The system is going online in time for tax season, but will remain a part of the services offered by the collector. "It should be an ongoing system, where you can pay anytime," Hensley said.
Scott and New Madrid counties are the first in this area, but not the state for this service. "There's a few other counties that had already started doing this," said Hensley.
The Internet is being used to make things easier on area residents in several other ways as well, according to Hensley. License bureaus can now use the Internet to verify if personal property tax has been paid or not. "We've probably been doing that about a year and a half now," he said.
Nowlin said additional modernizations was implemented in the New Madrid County collector's office as well.
"Our receipts will be like Scott County's," he said, with tear-off corner wallet receipt to use for licensing vehicles. "I think that was a nice thing to have for the taxpayers."
Nowlin said his office is also using a scanning system like that in use by Scott County. Tax statements have a bar code that, when presented, can be scanned to quickly pull up the taxpayer's account.
Additionally, payments are now immediately posted instead of the next day as was the case with the old system, Nowlin said.
"It's going to be a lot faster and more efficient," he said. "It also saves the county quite a bit of money."
On the Net: Missouri County Collector's Association: http://