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Credit card option for tax delinquents discussed

Jan 20, 2011 5:44 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Peter Markou, Greene County's new treasurer, promised to look into credit card payment options for deliquent taxpayers while campaigning for office last year. Now he's pushing forward for the option."][/caption]Worried about getting more funds in as efficiently as possible, new Greene County Treasurer Peter Markou is saying that he’d like to start collecting delinquent taxes by credit card, hoping it will bring some taxpayers current while providing a model for tax collectors at the town level. A Daily Mail story on the matter, which Markou says he will be suggesting to the town clerks who actually take in county monies, was published today, January 20.
Using a credit card, Markou said, gives delinquent payers an additional option, especially if the payments are relatively small. Taxpayers would be charged an additional convenience fee for credit card payments, said Markou. That fee is typically based on a percentage of the payment, usually two to three percent. Legislator William Lawrence, R-Cairo, said that for smaller amounts credit card payments may work but for “the bigger picture” — when property owners have a tough time paying one year, much less three — credits may not work in that situation. Markou said it was only a trial and could be presented as just one option to delinquent property taxpayers.
Markou also brought up the idea of installment payments arranged by credit card account, with one payment being made on tax day and another interest-free payment being accepted within a few months. Municipalities may frown on the interest-free payment aspect, Markou said, but it may prevent some delinquencies. He added that he will continue negotiations with area banks on the credit card payment option and may present a resolution before the county legislature in the near future. As for any representation of taxpayers already in trouble from credit card and other debts, nothing yet.