The Norman Transcript

December 28, 2012

Rush is on to pay property taxes

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — While most of us pay property taxes a little at a time each month when mailing in a mortgage check, some people will need to make an annual payment directly to the Cleveland County Treasurer’s Office. Taxes for the current year are due by the end of December but can be broken down into two payments if the first payment is made on time.

Cleveland County Treasurer Jim Reynolds said more than 70 percent of Cleveland County’s property taxes are paid by the mortgage companies and most taxpayers won’t have to make those payments.

“The mortgage companies will get it taken care of,” he said. “If you have an escrow with a mortgage company, the bill you received from us is for your information only.”

Those who don’t have a mortgage on their property or who have a note carried by a previous owner likely will have to pay the taxes.

Property taxes can be paid by mail, by phone, online or in person at the treasurer’s office in the Cleveland County Office Building, 201 S. Jones Ave. The courthouse will be open Monday, then will be closed Tuesday, New Year’s Day.

As long as checks are dated Dec. 31 and postmark dates are Dec. 31, the property tax will be considered paid on time if received through the mail, Reynolds said. People can divide the payment into two parts but must pay no less than half of the tax amount.

“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.”

For those who pay half by Dec. 31, the second half will be due March 31.

To pay online, visit clevelandcountytreasurer.com. The treasurer uses CollectMax, a web portal that provides access to taxroll data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If paying online or by phone, a 2.5 percent convenience fee is added. The fee is paid to the online and phone service provider for collecting the fees and does not go to the treasurer’s office or the county.

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

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 pays the bill and has been collecting that money along with the monthly mortgage payment.

To pay by phone, call 1-800-272-9829 and press 3 for local property tax. The Jurisdiction Code is 4610.

For more information, call the treasurer’s office, but the phones will be busy during the tax billing season and people may be better served by checking the frequently asked questions section 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 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.

Taxpayers can check online to see if the mortgage company paid, but calling the mortgage company may be a better idea, as later payments may not show up online prior to the deadline.

“If the mortgage companies pay on the 31st, it still takes a couple of days to process it,” Reynolds said.

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

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