The Norman Transcript

November 20, 2012

It’s property tax time again

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Cleveland County Treasurer Jim Reynolds said property tax statements will be in the mail next week and property owners should receive them around Dec. 1.

The taxes are due by Dec. 31.

“I’ve got to give credit to my staff,” Reynolds said. “We just got the file Friday afternoon. They worked late Friday and came in on Saturday and got it done.”

People can divide the payment into two parts but must pay no less than half of the tax amount due no later than Dec. 31 in order to avoid being delinquent.

“If they’re attempting to make half payments, they must make sure, to the penny, that it’s at least half. That’s state law,” Reynolds said.

“If their total is an odd amount like 35 cents, they need to round it up to the higher penny,” Chief Deputy Mona Nelson said. “Our software system won’t even accept it at the lower amount.”

Nelson suggested rounding the amount up to the next dollar. For those who pay half by Dec. 31, the second half will be due March 31.

Reynolds said anyone who purchased property after Oct. 1 will not receive a statement but will still have to pay the taxes and should be aware of that. In many cases, the mortgage company will pay the bill and has been collecting that money along with the monthly mortgage payment.

People who paid cash or who are being financed by a privately held note still will be responsible for paying the taxes.

Paying the tax bill has never been easier. People can pay in person, mail in a check or pay online. Reynolds recommends mailing in a check, but any payment method is allowed.

“They can pay online with a credit card,” he said. “There’s a fee charged from the processing company of 2.5 percent. It’s not our fee.”

To pay online, go to clevelandcountytreasurer.com.

“We really want to encourage people to visit that website,” Reynolds said.

People also can call for information, but the phones will be busy during the tax billing season and people may be better served by checking the FAQ section of frequently asked questions online at the website.

Before paying, people should consider whether their mortgage company is paying the bill, as the treasurer’s office must accept the first payment received and must refund the second payment. If a person pays and then the treasurer’s office receives a second payment from the mortgage company, the second payment will be refunded.

Since common procedure is that people pay the tax ahead of time along with their mortgage payment, most companies roll taxes and insurance into the mortgage bill. It’s better to check with the mortgage company rather than making a double payment.

“Most mortgage companies are absolutely diligent to pay,” Reynolds said.

The full treasurer’s staff will be on hand following the Thanksgiving holiday through New Years. It’s not a time the staff is allowed to take vacation, as the tax season requires the office be fully staffed. Still, there will be long lines as Dec. 31 nears, and Reynolds said it’s wise to pay early if you are coming to pay in person.

“I recommend people pay by mail,” he said. “If they choose to come in, we suggest they not wait until the last couple of days.”

He suggested coming at least a week before the due date in order to avoid long lines and a lengthy wait.

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

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