(MISSOULA)- Missoula County will begin assessing a 1.99% + $1.25 fee to citizens paying taxes or fees online or in person with credit or debit cards starting Wednesday, August 1st.
As an online alternative a flat fee of $1.00 will be charged to citizens paying taxes or fees with an e-check. There is no fee for paying by check in person or through the mail or for people who pay their property taxes through their mortgage company. The County is adding the convenience fee to cover the costs charged by credit card companies and financial institutions. Merchants build the cost of these fees into the price of their goods or services sold. Missoula County is unable to increase taxes or motor vehicle fees to cover the credit card fees and has been absorbing these costs for years, but county officials say the practice is unsustainable.
“All credit or debit cards have a fee that must be paid by the County, and some are higher than others. The rewards cards have the highest fees,” says Chief Financial Officer Andrew Czorny. “We have folks who own a lot of property come in to the Treasurer’s Office and pay their taxes with credit cards that yield significant rewards for them like cash back or vacation miles. The County is left footing the bill on approximately $600,000 of credit card company fees annually. It’s not fair to the people who pay through their mortgage companies or with a check. They’re basically subsidizing this cost.”
Missoula County is the last urban county in Montana and the 38th overall to incorporate these fees into the amount due when paying taxes or fees with a credit, debit card or e-check. The fees will be phased in across County departments over the next several months.