Office trained on GovTech for online payments

MICHELE LONGWORTH | Metropolis Planet

Connie Kieffer (standing, right), products consultant with GovTech Services Inc., provided training on GovTech to Massac, Pope and Hamilton County treasurers on June 27 at Massac County Treasurer Jody Haverkamp's office. This year real estate property owners will have the option to pay their taxes online. Mobile home taxes will still have to be paid at the treasurer's office.

For the upcoming taxing cycle Massac County's property owners will be able to pay their tax bills like always, at the Massac County treasurer's office, but they will have two other ways to submit their payments -- at City National Bank (CNB) -- both branches or online at www.govtechtaxpro.com.

"It [GovTech] offers online availability to our taxpayers. When I spoke with CNB they offered their service as another convenience with longer hours of operation, and also helping the community. Basically, giving the citizens of Massac County convenience and options," said Massac County Treasurer Jody Haverkamp.

Taxpayers may make payments in CNB's main lobbies, drive thru or the walk-ups. Haverkamp stressed property owners must have payment stub and, "Remember the due date is the due date," encouraging customers to check the dates.

Connie Kieffer, products consultant with GovTech Services Inc., was in Massac County June 27 to provide training to the Massac treasurer's office, as well as the treasurer's offices of Pope and Hamilton counties.

"As soon as the counties provide us their new tax files with the new amounts, we will do some testing then release it to the public," said Kieffer.

According to Kieffer, the public and taxpayers may start with their county's website, if they have one, which would link to GovTech's website. However, individuals may go directly to www.govetechtaxpro.com website and go the "parcel search tab." Taxpayers can then search for their properties by owner name or address.

According to Kieffer, if taxpayers are processing as an ACH -- funds are coming directly from their checking account to the collectors account --the fee is $2 per transaction.

Taxpayers can pay as many parcels as they want for one transaction fee. If they are using a credit or debit card, there is a convenience fee percentage charged, calculated on the total tax amount sent to the shopping cart. That convenience fee percentage amount is based on the volume anticipated so it will be different in almost all counties.

"The payers can contact the county office for that convenience fee," said Kieffer.

"If one parcel is being paid, its one transaction fee. If 100 parcels are being paid at the same time, it is still only one transaction fee. Our shopping cart is unlimited," said Kieffer. For banks, the one time fee would still apply if they had multiple properties to pay for.

"Or for banks and multiple property owners of more than 10 parcels, we have a service called portfolio. They can sign up on our site that charges a per parcel fee, but parcels they apply to the listings for this service are maintained by them all through the year and are updated with any changes or payments made in the treasurer's office daily. They can view these changes or see the payment status on their listing everyday without looking up each parcel one by one. They are only charged when they go to pay through us and we create an automated payment file for them that is sent electronically to the collectors office so they can get posted faster with no errors or refunds. No more paper checks or paper listings or having to have the bill in hand when paying. Every year when the new tax amounts come out, their list gets updated automatically with the new tax amounts," explained Kieffer.

According to Kieffer, GovTech services 52 counties in the state of Illinois and over 325 municipalities across the nation. Everything is encrypted and PCI compliant, with monitored security 24/7. "We don't house any credit card or banking information on our site, all that is funneled through our partner, Heartland Payment Processing Company, who is one of the largest credit card processing companies in the world," said Kieffer.

Kieffer says GovTech Services Inc. has a staff of experienced professionals from this industry accumulating well over 30 years, including former tax collectors, treasurers and escrow industry people who have created a portal that when processing tax payments through it, will help reduce the refunds due to duplicate payments made by citizens and mortgage companies. "It helps to simplify the payment process for the payer and the office and brings online tax payment processing easily available to larger metropolitan counties now to Massac county community as well," said Kieffer.

At this point Haverkamp say the first tentative due date is looking as if it may be at the end of August, rather than the mid-August date she had hoped to have. As soon as Massac County Clerk Hailey Miles finishes her portion of the taxing cycle, tax bills will be mailed out.

According to Haverkamp, GovTech should be available by the middle of July, as soon as the treasurer's office gets the paper work from the county clerk. "Then we can go ahead and finish updating all the information online," said Haverkamp.

She emphasizes only real estate parcels will be available to pay online. "Mobile homes will not be included this year. They will have to be paid at CNB or in our office," said Haverkamp.

"Pope and Hamilton [counties] had questions, so did our office, this is going to be new to all concerned, but feel that once we get accustomed to the new features, this will benefit all concerned," said Haverkamp.

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