Homeowners Take Note: It’s Time to Pay Up


Amid the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, Orange County property owners have one more thing to remember: Today is the deadline for paying the first installment on their share of $2.25 billion in property taxes, the county’s largest total ever.

The tax roll assessments have jumped about 8% this year, from $2.08 billion in 1998-99, said John M.W. Moorlach, the county’s treasurer-tax collector. With an assessment roll worth more than $200 billion, the county ranks fifth in the nation in terms of population and roll value.

As of Thursday, an estimated 66% of the county’s 750,000 property owners had paid their initial installment, Moorlach said.


He added that property owners may pay with cash, check or credit card, but he warned last-minute taxpayers to pay early in the day to avoid problems. Check payments made by mail must be postmarked today, or property owners will have to pay a 10% late fee, he said. (Many people put their payments in mailboxes in the evening or drop them off at post offices that are closed, mistakenly believing their payments will get postmarked Dec. 10, Moorlach said.)

Those paying by cash should visit the county office, not pay by mail.

Credit card payments may be made in person or by calling the Tax Collector’s Division at (714) 834-3411. Credit card payers should have their parcel number available. Be advised that there is a “convenience fee” for credit card payments.

To pay in person, go to the Tax Collector’s Public Information Office in the Hall of Finance and Records, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Room G-58, Santa Ana. Hours are extended today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A drop box is also available outside the finance building near the tax collector’s office.

Moorlach cautions those on a tight budget that with more than two dozen staff people working Saturday, chances are good that their payments will be deposited Monday.

“I remember one year a friend . . . didn’t realize how quickly we deposit those checks. His bounced, making him miss the deadline and he had to pay the 10% late penalty,” Moorlach said.

Last-minute taxpayers also have the option of mailing their taxes until 11 tonight at the main post office, 3101 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana. Those payments will receive the necessary Dec. 10 postmark.