County Eliminates Fee: Propert Taxes Now "A Little Less Painful"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
September 23, 2014

COUNTY ELIMINATES FEE: PROPERTY TAXES NOW “A LITTLE LESS PAINFUL”

SANTA CLARA COUNTY – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted today to eliminate the longstanding fees charged to people paying their property taxes online via e-checks. The vote was 3-2 in favor of the motion made by County Supervisor Joe Simitian.

Historically, if a taxpayer wanted to pay their twice-yearly property taxes with an online check, they were charged a fee ranging from $15 to $27. Starting with this winter’s payments, taxpayers can now use this convenient method with no fee.

“I’m pleased we’re able to treat taxpayers fairly, and maybe drag our county a little further into the 21st century,” said Simitian. “Nobody ‘likes’ having to pay their property taxes, but hopefully this makes the experience a little less painful.”

Simitian noted that eliminating the fee would benefit the County as well as the taxpayers. The County expects that waiving the fee will encourage more online payments, which means property tax dollars will make it to the County more quickly and more reliably.

“This makes it quicker and easier for both taxpayers and the County to handle property tax payments,” said Simitian. “And, the cost to the County is really negligible. We ought to be making it easier for people to pay their property taxes.”

County staff had suggested reducing the existing $15 to $27 fee, and charging just an 81-cent fee to cover the cost of processing the online payment, a dramatic reduction. As Chair of the County’s Finance and Government Operations Committee, however, Simitian suggested that the County waive the fee altogether, and have the County pick up the “really negligible” cost of processing the payments.

Simitian also noted that every taxpayer paying online with an e-check means “one less hard copy check we have to process at the County” – representing an additional benefit to the County.

“Obviously we have to cover our costs,” said Simitian, “but nickel-and-diming people who are trying to pay their taxes seems counter-productive. People expect to be treated fairly, and charging a fee, however small, to pay their taxes struck me as hard to justify. Given the benefits, eliminating the fee just struck me as a winner all around.”

Members of the public seeking more information about paying their property taxes online can visit the Tax Collector’s website at http://www.sccgov.org/sites/tax/Pages/Santa-Clara-Tax-Collector's-Office.aspx

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