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Past News Briefs


TAX COLLECTOR RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS


TAX COLLECTOR RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS


04/16/02 - BARTOW

The following letter, published April 16, 2002 in the The Ledger, is a response issued by Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder regarding a previous letter to the editor (which appeared in The Ledger on April 5, 2002):

The Tax Collector's Office appreciates every opportunity to better inform and educate the public about what we do. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Claude E. Secora Jr.'s letter to The Ledger, published April 5, regarding branch fees and convenience fees ["County Debit Card Charge"].

First, let me state for the record that county government (the Board of County Commissioners) is not responsible for the application of these fees. Under our governing structure, the tax collector authorizes these fees and is held directly accountable by the electors of Polk County, governor and Cabinet, and applicable state agencies.

As for the convenience fee, this was our dilemma: When I first became tax collector, one of the most common complaints from our customers was about how our office could not accept credit card payments. Unfortunately we were in a "Catch-22" situation: The major credit card companies and state law prevented a simple solution to our accepting credit card payments.

After a great deal of research, our office determined that we could accept credit card payment through the use of a third-party vendor, online processing and the application of a convenience fee. This system, which was modeled after an Internal Revenue Service process, was developed here in Polk County, and is now being used around the state by other tax collectors and local governing agencies. Given the widespread acceptance of this system, this is not the first time the convenience-fee question has come up. In fact, just recently, the tax collector in Hillsborough County addressed the Tampa print media regarding this very issue.

Sincerely,

Joe G. Tedder, CFC
Tax Collector for Polk County, Florida

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