March 20, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information please contact:
Stacie Prada, Jefferson County Treasurer 360-385-9150
Pay Early If You Can!
PORT TOWNSEND—To respond to the economic impacts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jefferson County Treasurer is encouraging property owners who are financially able to pay first half or full year property taxes early to fund essential services needed now and in the months to come. To encourage online payments and assist those affected by the State of Emergency, Treasurer Stacie Prada has negotiated a reduced service fee rate for payments made by eCheck and is implementing a program to forgive penalties and interest for those property owners who experience financial hardship.
Jefferson County relies heavily on property taxes to fund local services, and this includes essential services provided by the Public Health and hospital districts, Sheriff’s Office, fire districts.
“I am sensitive to the needs of those financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and am providing an avenue for relief from the tax interest or penalties that they might otherwise face. Anyone who is able to pay all or part of their 2020 property taxes will help us provide essential services in response to COVID-19 and help offset the revenue we don’t receive from those who can’t pay right now.”
The cost to taxpayers to pay property taxes online by eCheck is temporarily reduced from $2.00 to $0.50 during this crisis.
“For less than the price of a stamp, you can pay your property taxes online. This facilitates payment and assists our department with property tax collection by reducing hands-on mail processing that does not allow for working remotely.”
Treasurer Stacie Prada is exercising her authority under RCW 84.56.020(10) and working to implement a program that would forgive interest and penalties for those who are unable to pay by the due date. Prada confirmed Jefferson County property taxes are still due April 30, 2020.
“It’s a delicate balance trying to assist our property owners affected by this pandemic and ensure our local government operations have funding to continue serving our community. To help our affected taxpayers, we intend to forgive interest and penalties to those in need who complete and return an Emergency Affected Taxpayer Affidavit along with verification of hardship.”
The length of time to pay late without accruing interest and penalty has not yet been established.
Our local governments will be hard pressed to provide services through the end of this pandemic and the end of this year. Paying your full year’s taxes in the first half will help bridge the gap before any state or federal assistance may arrive.
“I’m hopeful that some people will use the online payment by eCheck option this month rather than wait until April 30th. Mortgage companies collect property taxes for some taxpayers throughout the year. Once they’ve paid with funds already collected and held in escrow, it will be clearer what our potential gap might be.”
Terms and finalization of the affidavit are being developed and will be available once determined. Prada estimates this will be done on or before April 10th.”
Online payments using credit cards or electronic checks may be made online at http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/337/Online-Property-Tax-Assessment-Payments or by calling the Treasurer’s Office at 360-385-9150. The 2.5% fee charged by the service provider for credit card payments remains unchanged.
For more information, contact the Treasurer’s office at 360-385-9150.