LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Where does the money go? We’re talking about a fee charged to Arkansas taxpayers if they choose to pay their taxes online.
Taxes were due this month, and a lot of people rushed to pay on the web. This prompted a question from a THV11 viewer who asked to remain anonymous.
His question said, "Why is there a third-party processing fee for paying personal property tax by debit card online through the county/state's own websites?"
To Verify, our team went straight to the Information Network of Arkansas General Manager Bob Sanders. "Our sole mission is providing online services for e-governments in Arkansas, that's our sole focus," said Sanders. The people who work there develop government websites in Arkansas, including those in 56 of the state's 75 counties, enabling you to pay property taxes online, if you so choose.
"So, in order to build those services, we have a team that builds them, supports them, secures them, all the cost for credit card fees, merchant fees, network infrastructure, all comes out of that fee so that's what they go to support,” said Sanders.
In the viewer's case who wrote to us, he owed $924.51 in taxes to Saline County. The processing fee, 2-point-8 percent adds 25 dollars and 89 cents. He said this nearly three percent fee seems excessive. "I get it, it hurts a little bit to have to pay that tax late in the year and to do it online and pay an additional fee, but it is an option available to Arkansans,” said Sanders. “They don't have to use it, if they wanna mail in a check it won't cost them anything but a stamp, it's just one option that's available.”
Sanders reiterates the money supports the e-government program in Arkansas. And Saline County's tax collector even said online, we are "Not in the business to make a profit, so we cannot absorb these types of fees."
To verify, the fee is added to pay for e-government services which include credit card fees, merchant fees, security and support for state and local websites. It's entirely optional to pay this way. Sanders said the average property tax paid online is 250 dollars. The higher the amount, the higher the online convenience fee.