Thanks, Ms. Kiernan, but I'll pass!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanks, Ms. Kiernan, but I'll pass!

According to Southampton Town Tax Receiver Theresa Kiernan:

"Taxes are payable by cash; credit cards and ACH {electronic check}."

Well, that makes it easy, doesn't it?!

The Town wants your tax money and they're not particular about how they get it!

Read further, however, and there's the rub... but then, there's always a rub!

"The online service accepts electronic checks and credit cards including American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. A $1 fee will be charged for each electronic check transaction and a 2-percent fee will be applied for credit card processing...."

2%!!!

I don't think so!

The flat $1 fee for an electronic check is bad enough... I mean, what's the difference?... but the two points for plastic isn't something I foresee a great many taxpayers viewing as a convenience.

For my Town taxes payment, that's a dinner at Starr Boggs for me and the Missus! Or at Micole's with a bottle or wine thrown in!

It's nice to offer people the option of paying their taxes on-line, but pardon me if I pass!

Comments

1. Thomas M. Kerr Jr. said...

You are right but you can get frequent flyer miles via credit card.

Yes, there's that... but have you done a cost analysis of this?
Dean

2. Ray Overton said...

Dean, I didn't see anything in there to say you couldn't pay by check or cash, just if you wanted to pay by credit card, it would be an extra 2%. That 2% is what the credit card company would withhold from the town, just like it does to every other merchant accepting credit cards.

I understand that, Ray... it's a pass-along. I simply explained why I would not be availing myself of that payment option.

The more troubling one is the dollar surcharge for "electronic check."
Dean

3. Matlynn Carville said...

How about regular check?

That would be my preferred method of payment. Drop it off while I bundle my chores to avoid the darn stamp fee.

The heck with extra interest and electronic check fee. Let them process it, take it to the bank, wait for the check clearance. How much does that cost in time and manpower. You'd think they'd PAY you a dollar to use the online check; it's got to be cheaper and faster. I guess this is a revenue generator? Fine/tax us to pay our taxes?

C'mon guys, you can do better than this....

Um, okay.
Dean

4. Hambone said...

2% for a credit card is CHEAP! I am not saying it is cost efficient but it is less than NYC charges if you were to pay your property tax. As for the ACH, anything that differentiates from the norm has a cost. Ms. Carville still thinks the teller trots the checks to the bank and signs them. In today's banking they are read out of the lockbox and posted directly to the account. There is very little human intervention. ACH needs to be posted (read cost for being part of the 10% that is not the norm). The short of it is the government will always get their money so they have little incentive to facilitate the process. If they wanted certified checks... ya know what, we'd all be getting certified checks.

"2% for a credit card" may be comparatively "cheap" as a rate, but as I've already stated, it's too pricy for my "convenience!" Me 'n' John Houseman still prefer the "old-fashioned way."

I didn't mention it in the blog item, but the whole release was little more than an excuse for Tax Receiver Kiernan to get her name out before the public. And that's fine... it's a low profile job, if it's done correctly.
– Dean

5. Hambone said...

There is a also a nuance involved here. By paying a debt with a credit card you are transferring the obligation to pay from yourself to the credit card company. Governments are loathe to lift the ultimate burden from the taxpayer to a third party.

A nuance, indeed!
Dean

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