County property taxes paid with plastic will face fee

11/13/2012 7:02 AM

11/13/2012 7:04 AM

Sedgwick County will pass on its cost of accepting property tax payments by credit card to those who use plastic to settle their tabs.

Starting Nov. 19, the county will charge a 2 percent convenience fee to accept tax payments by credit card and a flat $3.95 fee to accept payments by debit card.

Paying a $300 tax bill by credit card would cost $6, for example. A $4,000 tax bill paid by credit card would cost an additional $80. Paying those same bills by a debit card would cost $3.95.

The county forked over nearly $1 million in merchant fees to accept payments by plastic last year, chief financial officer Chris Chronis told commissioners Friday. The county paid those fees to credit card issuers and processors.

The convenience fees aim to help the county recover the cost of letting taxpayers use credit and debit cards to pay taxes, a practice it started about 10 years ago.

Chronis noted that some people would not be able to pay their property taxes if they couldn’t use a credit card. Allowing payments by credit card, he said, helps reduce delinquent taxes.

Residents paid $60 million in taxes with plastic last year, records show.

The county will do an audit after three months to ensure that it is only offsetting the cost of doing business and not making money off the fees.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau unsuccessfully tried to reduce the convenience fee to 1.5 percent. His motion failed, although Commissioner Karl Peterjohn voted with him. Commissioner Jim Skelton suggested a 1.75 percent fee, but that motion also failed.

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