Callaway County Collector Pam J. Oestreich said Thursday about half of all county real estate and property taxes have been paid.
"That's far ahead of normal. Collections have been very good for this time of the year," she said.
"The penalty for late payment starts at 9 percent for payments made after Dec. 31," Oestreich said.
The collector issued a reminder to Callaway County residents to make sure they have paid their 2011 real estate and property taxes by Dec. 31.
Because Dec. 31 this year falls on a Saturday, the last day to pay taxes in person at the collector's office in the courthouse will be on Friday, Dec. 30.
Oestreich also said people waiting to mail their payment by the Dec. 31 postmarked deadline should be aware that the Fulton Post Office will be open only until noon on Saturday, Dec. 31.
Mail postmarked in January of 2012, Oestreich said, will be returned for added penalty and interest.
The holiday collector's office closing times during December will be on Monday, Dec. 26, and Saturday, Dec. 31.
The office will be open from Tuesday, Dec. 27 through Friday, Dec. 30.
Taxpayers have various options of paying their real estate and personal property taxes.
• Paying in person by check or cash at the collector's office.
• Paying in person by credit card at the collector's office with a 3.9 percent service fee charged by credit card firms.
• Paying online by credit card with a 2.5 percent service fee charged by credit card firms.
• Paying by check and mailing to collector's office. Letters containing mailed checks must be postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2011.
• Depositing a letter containing a payment check at the collection box on the north outside steps of the Callaway County Courthouse before midnight on Dec. 31.
"Our office will be collecting from the lock box at midnight on Dec. 31," Oestreich said.
Oestreich said many people, especially those who don't have enough money to pay their taxes, are choosing to pay by credit card even though there is a service fee attached. "The credit card service fees are less than a 9 percent penalty charge for late payments. The Collector's Office does not retain any of the credit card service charges," she said. Some credit cards also have high interest charges.
"So far this month more than $24,000 in real estate and property taxes have been paid using credit cards either at the collector's office or online," Oestreich said.
Next year Callaway County taxpayers also will have the option of signing up for installment payments of their real estate taxes, but not personal property taxes.