Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Concerned about online fees?

Over 22,379 visitors have used our online tax look-up website, www.decaturgatax.com since it was launched in late 2010.  December 2011 was a record month with 1,916 visitors alone (and Decatur only has about 8,000 properties)!

Although people increasingly turn to our website to look up tax information, we hear occasional concerns from the public about the online payment option.  The City of Decatur’s third party payment processor charges 2.2 percent plus 30¢ for online credit card payments through Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

Through our online survey, we’ve even received a comment that “The County has never charged a fee for payment.”  Actually, DeKalb County’s website says “Payments may be accepted via VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, but a 2.5 percent transaction fee will be added to the payment.”

The perception that Decatur charges a fee that the county doesn’t charge may stem from the fact that DeKalb doesn’t charge a fee for online checks.

While that function is not directly supported by the city’s third party processor, you may be able to issue an online check to the City of Decatur through your personal bank at no charge to you.  Several major and local banks or credit unions offer account services such as online checking that would enable you to pay through the Internet without incurring a fee.  In other words, you could use our website to look up how much money you owe, then use your own online bank account to issue a payment without having to write out your own paper check.  Please contact your bank for terms and details.

Decatur taxpayers can also pay online through PayPal, which I noticed is currently offering a “Bill Me Later” feature that offers six months to pay on payments of $99 or more.  I’m not endorsing any one payment method over another, but that feature may be an option worth looking into for some Decatur residents or business taxpayers facing short-term cash flow problems.  Details on that program can be found here.

And of course we still take payments the old-fashioned way—from checks by mail, payments in person, or payments from your mortgage lender!


  1. The fee is why I just wrote a check and walked to city hall to pay my property taxes.

  2. Your post was simply excellent. I find it impressive. You did a great job with your awesome post. A lot of thanks for sharing.

    Charles A

  3. I think the city should approach their on line vendor about taking checks (like Dekalb county for taxes and water bills). Some of us own Decatur City property as a second home or rental home and live out of state. Electronic check transmission is faster than sending by mail.