Tarrant County officials urge taxpayers to be cautious when paying by mail

Tarrant County property owners will begin receiving tax bills this month and the county tax office is urging taxpayers to take precautions when paying by mail in the wake of recent acts of theft and violence reported by local media and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

“Due to the rise in mail theft in recent months, we urge taxpayers to protect themselves against potential theft by dropping their tax payments inside a post office rather than the blue mail collection boxes found outside the building or in neighborhood locations,” Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Wendy Burgess said in a news release.

Taxpayers should take the steps necessary to ensure they do not fall victim to mail theft, the release said, adding that there is no consideration in the tax code for undelivered mail; penalty and interest will begin accruing on the unpaid balance of any account paid or postmarked after the due date. The U.S. Postal Service reports that the average time for mail delivery is 2.5 days, the release said.

Taxpayers who mail payments should allow 1-3 business days for payments to be processed and should view their account online to be sure their payment has been posted. Taxpayers should allow 7-10 business day when paying in December and January because of the high volume of payments received in those months.

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Burgess noted that a secure website to make an E-check payment from the same bank account a taxpayer would use to write a paper check is available 24/7 at no cost to the taxpayer. Payments can be made by accessing the payment portal on the property tax page of the county’s website, she said.

“There is no fee to pay with E-check,” Burgess said. “Our payment portal is secure, user friendly, and does not require a login to make a payment. Taxpayers can access the portal from any computer or mobile device with internet access. E- checks are also accepted by phone.”

Taxpayers have several payment methods to choose from including cash, checks, debit cards and credit cards. All payment methods are considered safe and secure when presented in person, online through the county’s payment portal, or by phone, the tax office said, but urged  taxpayers to be diligent about protecting their financial information by being aware of where and how they make a payment.

County branch locations are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., except county holidays, and in-person payments can be made using cash, checks, and credit or debit cards. Debit and credit cards are accepted online and by phone with an additional convenience fee charged by the card company.

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Customer service  representatives are available by phone at 817-884-1100 and online chat during normal business hours to verify that payments have been posted.

Information for this article was provided by the Tarrant County Tax Office.