Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Property tax bills to be mailed this week; treasurer explains payment options

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Porter County residents will be delivered their “on-time” 2010 property tax bills this week to their home or office, says Porter County Treasurer Mike Bucko.

Residents will be able to pay their bills by mail, in person, using the drop box located outside the treasurer’s office or online by using the county’s website.

Included with the bills will be the Pink Homestead Credit Information Form. Those wanting homestead credits should send their forms directly to the Porter County Auditor’s office. Do not send homestead credit forms with tax payments. If homestead credit forms are not received, taxpayers could lose their homestead credit on their taxes.

Taxpayers paying their bill by mail send their payments to: Porter County Treasurer, P.O. Box 11357, South Bend, IN, 46634. Cancelled checks will act as receipts for taxpayers and the checks will get back to the bank much sooner than in past years, Bucko said.

The treasurer’s office asks that payments not be sent by Federal Express, UPS, or Express Mail. The P.O. Box cannot be signed for. First Source Bank will be processing the payments and the local Porter County bank will be handling the treasurer’s lock box service.

It is asked that taxpayers do not mail their checks directly to the Porter County Administration Building.

For those wishing to pay in-person, the county treasurer’s office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Porter County Administration Building (155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso). The treasurer’s office will make sure you have the right bill payment coupon, pre-stamp and date check, put your tax bill Duplicate Number in the memo line, and ask that your telephone number is on the check.

There will be three separate lines this year to pay tax bills. Line 1 will be for those wanting to pay by check only and needing no consultation. Line 2 will be for taxpayers wanting consultation and payment can be by check, cash or money order. Line 3 will be for cash only without consultation.

“Our first goal is to move the line for those who want to get in and get out but feel they need to pay in person, while providing the customer service needed for those having difficulties,” said Bucko.

The treasurer’s office will have a drop box for checks only. Checks need to have the taxpayer’s name, address and telephone number on them. Those wanting a receipt are asked to enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with their checks. Cancelled checks can still act as receipts.

Porter County Assessor John Scott said there will be someone from the assessor’s office at the county administration building to take questions taxpayers may have about their assessed values. Scott said the assessor’s office is not responsible for the tax rates but will explain to taxpayers where their assessed values are coming from.

Taxpayers wishing to pay online are directed to go to the county website, www.porterco.org, and click on the Tax Information tab. There have been new enhancements made to the Tax Information Web page that allows taxpayers to view their records with no limits or fees.

Porter County Director of Information Technology Sharon Lippens played the pivotal role in making this website happen and getting it at an affordable price for the citizens of Porter County, said Bucko.

Bucko also said the project might be the Treasurer’s website but it is the people’s tool where taxpayers, realtors, escrow companies, bankers, and title companies can access county tax records from anywhere in the world

Payments can be made using VISA, Master Card or Discover credit cards or by E-check. Those paying by credit card should know that Chase Bank applies a convenience charge of 2.5 percent for the service.

The E-check option requires a $1 convenience charge per tax bill payment. E-check will pay for your bill by taking the money out or your checking or savings account.

“With gas prices today and the cost of your time, E-check is the least expensive way to pay your taxes,” said Bucko.

Taxpayers are asked to look on the back of their bill payment coupon for more details on how to pay their tax bills.

Bucko said he, Scott, and Porter County Auditor Jim Kopp along with their staffs worked hard and collaboratively to make the bills on time this year. Bucko said he will try to make the payment process efficient and quick for taxpayers.

“When I ran for office, I said, ‘I can’t promise to make paying taxes enjoyable but I can make it easier,’” he said.

The first installment of the 2010 property tax bills are due to the state by May 10. There will be a second installment in the fall due on November 10.

 

 

Posted 4/5/2010

 

 

 

 

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