A bill is in the mail to Smith County taxpayers. More than 182,000 property tax statements should be arriving in Smith County residents' mailboxes and email inboxes soon.
Those property tax bills are due upon receipt. The deadline for paying property taxes and avoiding penalties and interest is Jan. 31. The tax office accepts cash, check, money order, credit card, debit card and electronic check payment.
Partial payments on current and delinquent taxes also are accepted. Electronic checks are the easiest way for residents to pay their tax bills for free and without driving across town or standing in lines, said Smith County Tax Collector Gary Barber.
Customers can print receipts so they are sure the balance is paid, he said.
"That's the easiest way to pay," Barber said. "You can go online, look at your account and print a receipt. You know your taxes are paid, and you know when they are paid. It's timely. You don't have to drive or mail it, and it's the cheapest and most economical way to pay your taxes."
Barber said this is the fourth year paying with an e-check has been free, and more and more residents are using electronic checks to pay tax bills.
Credit card and debit payments include a convenience fee of 2.5 percent of the balance. The convenience fee would cost $125 on a $5,000 tax bill. The tax office also accommodates walk-in customers.
Residents 65 and older, or disabled residents, qualify for quarterly payments. No penalties or interest are assessed if payments are received on time for homesteads.
Penalties begin at 7 percent Feb. 1 and increase 2 percent per month until it reaches 18 percent by July 1 in addition to a 15 percent collection fee. Penalties continue to escalate in 1 percent increments after that.
The total tax levy for 22 Smith County taxing entities is more than $320 million, Barber said, compared to $299.8 million last year.
Barber estimates the increase is largely due to the passage of various school bonds.
The main tax office is in the Cotton Belt Building, 1517 W. Front St. in Tyler. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Taxpayers also can make payments at the Lindale office, 2616 S. Main St. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The new Noonday tax office, 15405 Texas Highway 155 South, also can accept payments. That office is also open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Payments can be mailed to P.O. Box 2011 Tyler, Texas 75710. Mailed payments must be postmarked on or before Jan. 31, or else a late fee will be added.
Taxpayers can access their tax information at www.smith-county.com.