Monday, January 5, 2015

Tax and payment news to watch in 2015

From a property tax standpoint in and around Decatur in 2015, I expect a lot of debate about the proposed annexation, the north DeKalb cityhood movements, and the impact that those changes will have on property tax bills of county residents who are currently unincorporated. If Decatur’s proposed annexation advances through the upcoming state legislative session, we would see a November 2015 referendum (plus a possible vote on expanding homestead exemptions in Decatur). Also, 2015 should be the last year that anybody sees a property tax charge from the State of Georgia on their tax bills—that small portion of your bill has been gradually phased out over the past four years, and this is the fifth and final year.

From a payment technology standpoint, I expect many more Decatur residents will take advantage of our relatively new online feature to pay taxes with an e-check with no convenience fee. Previously our only online option was making credit card payments with a convenience charge. Nationally, innovations and updated credit card security standards will change how payments are made and accepted in the U.S. including chip-and-PIN (EMV) and ApplePay technologies. Consumers will no longer swipe the magnetic strip of their credit cards at retail terminals, but rather insert their cards and key in a PIN number at locations where merchants have upgraded their hardware. IPhone 6 users will be able to make contactless payments at an increasing number of retailers. Consumers will see the most immediate impact of these changes at private sector locations, but these trends will eventually affect how citizens pay taxes and fees to local and state government agencies as well.

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