Letters to the Editor

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TAXES: State law governs credit card fee

Letter by Mike Lonergan, Tacoma on April 10, 2013 at 10:56 am with No Comments »
April 10, 2013 1:05 pm

A letter writer (TNT, 4-9) asked why Pierce County charges a fee when taxpayers use a credit card to pay through the assessor-treasurer website (piercecountywa.org/atr). I wish we didn’t have to, but state law prohibits the county from absorbing the fees charged for credit card transactions.

While the cardholder seldom sees it, all credit card transactions carry a fee, normally paid by the merchant accepting the payment. The assessor-treasurer uses a vendor which charges 2.4 percent of the tax payment, which is a typical amount for these fees. None of this fee goes to the county.

If, for example, your property tax bill is $2,000, then the fee would be $48. Some taxpayers who need to meet the April 30 deadline for first-half taxes, but wish to pay the cost at a later date, do find this convenient and worth the charge.

I recommend another way of paying your taxes online, which only costs 50 cents. Follow the simple instructions on our website to create an “e-check.” this is a one-time authorization for us to withdraw the amount you specify from your checking account at any bank.

Otherwise, you have three more payment options:

• Mail your check and payment slip to us at P.O. Box 11621, Tacoma, WA 98411.

• Drop your payment envelope in the Property Tax slot at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th Street in Tacoma.

• If you want a smile and a receipt, bring it to the assessor-treasurer counter inside the annex.

(Lonergan is the Pierce County assessor-treasurer.)

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