Did I Pay My Taxes? 3 Last-Minute Ways To Find Out
Today is the deadline to pay property taxes in Arkansas. The tax bill for my 2007 Honda showed up in the Spring. I remember looking at it and stashing the envelope in the pile of random important paperwork that lives on my kitchen counter.
I'm 95% sure I paid the bill. But there's still that 5% doubt.
For some people, today means a trip to the post office for that Oct. 15 postmark or paying the annual taxes online. (You can also pay in person!) For others like me who are uncertain, there are a few fast and easy ways to find out if that bill got paid or if we need to hurry up and pay.
1. Pick Up the Phone
County government is still one of those places where a phone call might be faster than an online search. Call your County Tax Collector and ask if you paid your "Personal Property" (aka your car, boat, livestock) taxes or your "Real Property" (aka house, mobile home, barn, land) taxes. Some but not all offices can take payment over the phone.
If you can't find your collector's phone number through a quick search online or in the phone book, check out this Association of Arkansas Counties list of phone numbers by counties.
2. Search Online
Many Arkansas counties have online portals where you can pay your property tax.
But first, you may want to look and see if you've already paid. If you don't want to go through your bank statements, another way to search is through the County Collector website or even the County Assessor Website.
If your County Collector offers online payment, you can click on the start payment button. Then it will ask you for your Tax Payer Number. If you don't know that, you may have the option to search for your Taxpayer ID by entering your Parcel Number or your name and address. (The state put together this handy website to find your county's website. Not all counties offer online payment though.)
If you have paid, you will likely get a "This account currently has no payable balance" message pop up or "There are no payable parcels listed."
You might even see a breakdown of where your tax dollars went. (The $71.53 I paid on my Honda went to schools ($55.69), to the county government operations ($6.83), to county roads ($2.05), to the county library ($2.32 for all those books and movies), and finally to my city government ($4.64 for police and fire protection and roads and parks).
Another way to search for Real Property records is through the County Assessor website.
Do an internet search for your county's name and property search. For example, "Washington County Property Search." Your County Assessor's website should pop up. Here you can search Real Estate Records by parcel number or name.
One of the fields that shows up is Taxes. Another field says Receipts. In both areas, you will see a zero balance if you've already paid your taxes. There is also a button that says "Proof of Payment." Clicking on this will pop up a receipt showing the date and amount paid. This receipt showed a combined payment for my home and vehicle, so now I know both taxes were paid.
3. Go in Person
Today is a busy day in many County Tax Collector offices. Some offer drive-through
service for payment drop offs. Others you can park and walk inside the county building
to pay. You can find addresses for county offices at https://www.arcounties.org/counties.
In the end, my 95% certainty won out. I can see that my Real Property tax bill was paid in May and I paid my Personal Property tax bill in June. This means no rushing to the post office or paying online today for me.
Do You Know Where Your Tax Dollars Go?
This is also the time of year where people find themselves wondering, just where do my tax dollars go. Most collectors put together great information - pie charts or lists - showing how your dollars are spent.
Extension also offers publications explaining property taxes in Arkansas. Find these publications and more at our Arkansas Property Tax website.