Property owners pay tax online

By Nina Gougis

Since DeKalb residents have had the option to pay property taxes online, more than $500,000 in taxes have been paid using the new system.

DeKalb Treasurer Christine Johnson said the program has been extremely popular among taxpayers since it became available in May, and she anticipates by the end of the year, the amount paid online will grow to $1 million.

The program has gained popularity because it makes paying property taxes much more convenient for the residents, something Johnson said is one of the greatest advantages to the program.

To provide this service, DeKalb teamed up with the State of Illinois Treasurer’s Office as part of the E-Pay Program.

The program allows the state to negotiate contracts with credit card companies on behalf of smaller government entities to find the lowest merchant fees available.

Although online taxpayers will be charged a convenience fee, Johnson said the service provides residents with the convenience of paying whenever they choose.

“It is especially good for people who work late and can’t pay their taxes during regular business hours,” Johnson said.

Sharon Brown, communication director for the State of Illinois Treasurer’s Office, said a major advantage of online payment is that it lessens the time it takes to process tax payments by check.

“There’s no lag time that it would take for checks to be processed,” Brown said. “This lets the county get its money quickly.”

Although the state launched this program in 2000, Johnson said the program was launched later in DeKalb to wait for lower merchant fees, which would result in a lower convenience fee.

“The convenience fees at first were fairly substantial,” she said. “Renegotiating with the credit card companies has resulted in a 40 percent drop in fees since the start of the program.”

Even with the lowered convenience fee, Johnson said the average taxpayer should expect to pay $40 to $50 for each tax installment.

Bertrand Simpson, DeKalb resident and associate director of University Programming and Activities, said even though he thinks the property taxes are fairly reasonable, he still would not be comfortable paying his taxes online.

The second installment of property taxes is due Sept. 3. In order to pay taxes online, residents can visit the DeKalb County Web site at and click on the “Pay property taxes here” link.

Residents still can pay their taxes through mail, at county banks and at the Treasurer’s Office in the DeKalb County Administration Building.