Avoiding the 23-Percent Late Property Tax Penalty

Avoiding the 23-Percent Late Property Tax Penalty
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POSTED: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 6:16pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 7:20pm

EL PASO - Whether you've paid your city property taxes, or have yet to do so, there's some information you should know. News Channel 9 found out how you can avoid interest fees up to 23-percent and prepare for next year.

The property tax deadline was Tuesday, and now 7-percent interest is being tacked on to late property taxes.

"I didn't have the money at the time in January," George Williams said. "Now I'm trying to get it in as soon as possible,"

Many people will want to follow Williams' example. That's because on top of the 7-percent late interest rate for February, an additional 2-percent will be tacked on every month until June

"in July the big hammer drops. We add a 23-percent collection fee and interest," Tax Assessor Collector Juan Sandoval said.

Sandoval says 5-percent of El Pasoans still need to pay their property taxes. Those who need to pay can set up a monthly payment plan to avoid high interest costs. The tax office says some people may be considering a loan to help pay, and that's why the Better Business Bureau has some advice. They say people should shop around and compare loan options for the best interest rate.

"One loan might sound like a good deal, but when you do the math, after a few years after all the interest has been charged, you may find out that it's thousands of dollars more than you ever expected to pay," spokesperson Annabelle Estrada said.

If people have already paid, they can also get a jump start on next year's taxes.

"We actually have escrow accounts they can open up so that they can prepay taxes for the following year," Sandoval said.

A little money into an account each month could save people cash in the long run.

"It's something I have to do every year so, I have to prepare myself," Williams said. "I wasn't prepared."

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Did Paul Strelzin pay his property taxes this year?

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