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Pay Taxes On Time. Get Fined Anyway. Justice, New York Style

This is just WRONG! Nobody disputes that you paid your taxes ON TIME, and you still get assessed a 10% late fee! Ms. Jansen, of the village of Sleepy Hollow (really) in Westchester County, New York, tried to pay her property tax bill on-line ($6,516.84 for 6 months!) 5 days early. Her payment was rejected because the town requires payment by check, in an envelope postmarked on or before the due date. So the Sleepy Hollow Bank issued a check for the taxes, which was sent 5 days early, and which the village acknowledges it received before the due date. Yet they still hit Ms. Jansen with a 10% late charge, plus a $2 fee! ($653.68)! Guess why?

Because her bank issues checks through Bill Pay, which uses bulk mail, which does not produce a postmark! Surely the Bill Pay log showing that the taxes were timely paid would satisfy the town, right? Wrong. While the Sleepy Hollow tax collector admitted that the law was antiquated, she said that she could not accept a bank log as proof of timely payment!

Oh, and if she doesn’t pay the late charge by this Friday, March 30, she’ll be hit with another penalty!

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