In 2011, Maria Walls, CPA, Beaufort County Treasurer, announced her new website, providing transparent data and information unmatched by any other Treasurer's website in the State of South Carolina. On September 27, 2017, Treasurer Walls announced the first electronic tax billing program in the State of South Carolina.
In partnership with PayIt, an innovative partner in digital government and payment solutions, Treasurer Walls announced a new electronic billing service, myBeaufortCounty, for citizens paying property taxes. E-billing is the first in a series of new services to be offered through the myBeaufortCounty app launching next month.
Beaufort County is the first County in the state of South Carolina to offer electronic billing to its citizens after passage of House Bill 3313 in the 2016 legislative session. Originally introduced by Senator Chip Campsen of District 43 (R - Beaufort, Charleston and Colleton Counties) in Senate Bill 460, Senator Campsen said, "I would like to thank the Beaufort County Treasurer, Maria Walls, for her assistance in crafting this legislation and spearheading the electronic billing initiative in South Carolina. Paperless billing will reduce the cost of county government and provide an added convenience to the taxpayer. I encourage all citizens o Beaufort County to enroll".
At the press conference unveiling myBeaufortCounty, Treasurer Walls thanked Senator Campsen for initiating and supporting legislation that will improve the Counties' services to the constituents as well as Representative Weston Newton (R - Beaufort and Jasper Counties) for sponsoring House Bill 3313 and the Beaufort Legislative Delegation for supporting the passage of the bill. Prior to the passage of H3313, State law required that tax bills be mailed through the United States Postal Service.
"E-billing is a convenience Beaufort County citizens have been asking for and it will save Beaufort County thousands of dollars in postage alone," said Maria Walls, CPA, Beaufort County Treasurer. "We are excited to provide an innovative solution that will allow citizens to not only receive bills electronically, but allow them to pay their taxes through the myBeaufortCounty app."
Electronic tax billing is being offered for all property types, real and personal as well as motor vehicles. Property owners who want to receive their 2017 annual real and personal property tax bills electronically should sign up by October 24th by simply creating a myBeaufortCounty account through the Treasurer's website. The property owner will then receive their electronic bill once the tax bills become available. It's quick, easy, and e-bills will save trees and tax dollars.
"We are excited to partner with forward-thinking Beaufort County to bring innovative, convenient and secure ways to transact with the County," says John Thomson, PayIt CEO & Founder. "This is an important step in re-imagining the way government serves its constituents."
In addition to electronic billing, the myBeaufortCounty app will allow citizens to make property tax payments, receive bill reminders, view their balance and see account history on your computer and mobile device.
"We are very excited to launch myBeaufortCounty but realize it was not enough to improve upon our billing process," said Treasurer Walls, "We had to upgrade how we receive payments."
After taxes become delinquent, the Treasurer's Office receives many phone calls from taxpayers who did not receive their hardcopy tax bill successfully through the United States Postal Service. Because the taxpayer did not receive their bill, they forgot to pay and request that their tax penalties be waived. Unfortunately, South Carolina State Law does not allow for a penalty waiver in this type of circumstance.
South Carolina State Statute 12-45-185 permits the Treasurer to waive penalties "...if the taxpayer provides clear and convincing evidence to the county treasurer that the taxpayer delivered the timely payment to the United States mail..." No taxpayer maintains proof of their postmark date prior to mailing the payment, making it rare that a taxpayer would benefit from the grace this statute provides. By working with our print vendor, SouthData, Inc., the Treasurer's Office has been able to use new tracking technology to better assist our taxpayers when they have a payment issue.
Taxpayers who continue to receive hardcopy tax bills will be provided a remittance envelope with a unique barcode. The barcode allows the Treasurer's Office to track the remittance envelop and its associated payment through the United States Postal Service. By using the remittance envelope, the taxpayer is providing clear and convincing evidence that they have delivered timely payment to the United States Postal Service the moment their remittance envelope is scanned. If a taxpayer has lost a payment and incurs penalties, the Treasurer's Office will be able to easily confirm the date of the intended payment and waive the taxpayer's penalties.
"These announcements are a win for Beaufort County Government and Beaufort County's taxpayers," said Treasurer Walls. "By launching myBeaufortCounty, we are giving our taxpayers the convenience of electronic billing, with a greatly improved payment system, that in turn will reduce the tax dollars Beaufort County Government is spending on postage and print services. And by utilizing SouthData's new remittance tracking, we will no doubt be saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in penalties.
To sign-up for electronic billing and to find out more about the myBeaufortCounty app and the Treasurer's Office, visit www.BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com.
PayIt's cloud-based digital government and payment platform technology provides government agencies and their citizens with chatbot and mobile wallet experiences that simplify transactions and communication. For additional information, contact Katie Beth DeSchepper at firstname.lastname@example.org.