Taxpayers have until midnight Thursday to postmark their property tax statements, which are due upon receipt.
Barber said the tax office will offer free payment by electronic check for the first time, which increases convenience and reduces expenses.
The deadline for payment is Thursday. The tax office accepts cash, check, money order, credit card, debit card and electronic check payment.
Nearly 1,700 taxpayers have paid about $4.2 million with the free electronic check payment option.
Barber stressed that only a postmark before the midnight deadline will prevent penalties. Putting the tax bill in the mailbox does not guarantee it will be postmarked by the deadline, he said.
“Go ahead and pay online because you get a receipt and know it’s taken care of,” he said. “We have people miss the deadline every year and are hit with the 7 percent penalty.”
Credit card 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 convenience fee for debit cards is $3.95.
The tax levy, which goes to school districts and other governmental jurisdictions around the county, is $262 million compared to $256.5 million last year.
Penalties begin at 7 percent on Friday and increase 2 percent per month until it reaches 15 percent in June. In July, penalties continue to escalate in 1 percent increments with an additional 15 percent collection fee.
The tax office accepts partial payments on current and delinquent taxes, but they must be received by Thursday to avoid penalties.
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.
Residents must file for this exemption and make the first payment by Thursday.
Physical and technological improvements also will benefit taxpayers and tax office staff soon, Barber said. Walk-in customers will have three additional teller windows this year. “Self-serve” payment kiosks, with touch-screens and multiple payment options, will allow customers to access their tax information and pay.
Barber said the options should make the process easier.
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. on Monday through Friday.
Taxpayers also can make payments at the office in Lindale, 2616 S. Main St. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.