Callaway County collector to accept tax payments

FULTON — The Callaway County Collector’s office is giving county taxpayers the option of paying next year’s real estate taxes on an installment plan.

Collector Pam Oestreich said 2011 tax bills mailed this week are not eligible for the new program and the entire 2011 amount must be paid before the end of the year to avoid penalties and interest.

But for next year, Oestreich said, 2012 Callaway County real estate taxes will be eligible for payment in four quarterly payments. Taxpayers also can choose to make one payment at the end of the year, as they have done in the past.

When 2011 tax bills were mailed on Monday, she said, notices were enclosed about the optional installment payment plan for the 2012 tax year.

“Some people called the office and are under the mistaken impression that this collection method will be required for everyone,” Oestreich said. “I want to emphasize that this is just an option, and people can still pay they way they always have if they want to do so.”

The amount of the first three quarterly payments will be based on the previous year’s total tax bill divided by four. The final quarterly payment of the year will be adjusted to the amount needed to cover the total amount of the real estate taxes due for the year. The total figure isn’t known until later in the year when various tax entities in the county set tax rate levies. This means the final quarter’s payment may be slightly higher or lower than the other three quarterly payments.

Only real estate tax bills will be eligible for the new installment program next year. The personal property tax bill still must be paid with one payment at the end of the year.

If an individual’s final quarterly payment does not cover all taxes due for the year, participation in the quarterly payment plan may be ended.

The collector’s office is offering a variety of ways to pay each quarterly bill. Options include a check, money order, cash, bank draft, automated payment and credit card. If a credit card is used, a fee of 3.9 percent of each quarterly payment is added.

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