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Fewer People Show Up on Tax Deadline Day

by Katie Pyzyk October 7, 2011 at 9:52 am 1,709 6 Comments

The expected rush of residents paying their county taxes at the last minute didn’t happen as originally thought. County Treasurer Frank O’Leary predicted around 2,600 people would show up on Wednesday to pay their vehicle personal property tax and installment two of the county’s real estate tax in person, but the number was actually 2,201.

That day alone brought in almost $6.5 million for the county, making the total amount collected from walk-ins during the final week $30.7 million. Compare that with 2009, when 2,799 people showed up on the final day and paid nearly $11.8 million, with the final week totaling $35.8 million.

O’Leary notes that printing trouble last year caused the tax bills to be sent out 10 days late, so the deadline was extended by 10 days, to October 15. That made comparisons to 2010 invalid so 2009 numbers are used for comparisons instead. The 2009 numbers were also adjusted to take into consideration the new technology system this year.

Technology upgrades and an extra register made the process move smoothly. O’Leary also credits “alternative” payment methods such as online tax payments with making things easier.

He said, “My promise that no customer would wait more than six minutes for service was easily fulfilled.”

Overall, the number of people choosing to pay in person has declined by more than 1,200 people, or nearly 17%, since 2009. O’Leary also noticed that immigrants, who make up the majority of walk-in payments on the due date, didn’t arrive in the same volume as previous years.

Workers in the Treasurer’s Office plan to analyze information gathered by the new technology. O’Leary says it will help to better determine who pays, when, and how.

  • JimPB

    ArlCo is being pro-active about property tax payments. We got a roto-phone call several days before the tax deadline reminding us of that deadline.

    And, the capability of paying the tax on-line is a welcome convenience and penny-saver (no check, no envelope, and, alas for the post office, no postage stamp, and no need to make a special trip to a post office to get the payment postmarked by the deadline).

    How do I, how do you feel about the value received for your taxes? On the whole, good. BUT there are opportunities for trimming expenditures, e.g., the ArlCo videos about restaurants, the emergency radio system.
    And there are opportunities for improvements, e.g., more port-a-johns in parks and along trails, and the use of extant research to improve educational outcomes — e.g., moving back the start time for high school to accommodate adolescent sleep needs (more sleep, getting sleepy later) — like to 9+ AM. When this has been done, attentiveness increases, especially in the first period class, and grades and test scores meaningfully increase; and implementing the only intervention with children of disadvantaged families that has a strong and enduring effect — most of the interventions, e.g., Head Start, have little or no differential effect on educational achievement, and when they do have, the effect is short lived. However, in-home visitation 20 hrs./wk between age 8 mos. and 3 yrs does have a substantial (indeed, transformative) effect and it is enduring: At 4th grade, average IQs of 100 and educational achievement at grade level. And it may not need new funds if monies are reallocated from ineffective programs.

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    Envelope, Stamp, Check. What’s the big fuss?

    Do people go to the IRS building to send in their tax returns each year?

    • Michelle

      Agreed, UnlimitedCustoms.

      Some arlnow comments from another post indicate they came in person to avoid paying the 2.5% credit card fee online (yet you can pay by check online and it’s free). Anyway, let’s say you did pay by credit card online and had $1000 property tax bill. That’s an extra $25. Take into consideration your time you’re standing in line, finding parking, still trying to find parking, paying the meter, plus time off work, that $25 seems worth it to just avoid that.

      Or ya know, as you said, stamp + check (it comes with an envelope)

      • Novanglus

        Stamp and check (or online e-checks) work great for people with checking accounts.

        People using cash (like the “immigrants” mentioned in the article) need to hand it to someone, but now that can happen at banks and check cashing places — not just at Mr. O’Leary’s office.

        • UnlimitedCustoms

          Isn’t the English language awesome?

          Change the placement of ‘not’ and ‘just’ in your last sentence and it changes the total meaning.

      • charlie

        maybe for the car tax it would work. but for the real estate tax, a 2.5% on my taxes can get close to $125.00 (go ahead do the math, i’m baiting you).

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