Credit cards no option for property taxes
We can pay our vehicle license renewals by credit cards, so why can't we pay our property tax by credit cards?
Answer: Because it's not "cost-effective" -- unless you're delinquent and required to pay a penalty and interest.
Merchants -- which is what the city would be in this case -- pay a percentage of credit card sales (known as merchant fees) to the credit card companies, explained Bill Brennan, spokesman for Mayor Hannemann's administration.
"For real property taxes, those merchant fees could be substantial due to the amount of the tax," he said.
Retail merchants are generally willing to pay those fees because they want to be able to make a sale. The more payment options available, the more likely they'll be able to make a sale.
But the city really isn't faced with losing business in that way, Brennan acknowledged. People who pay Honolulu real property taxes don't have the option of "shopping elsewhere."
"Over the past several years, off and on, we have considered the credit card method of payment for real property taxes, but with a convenience fee attached," Brennan said. Even that did not "pencil out," he said, because the city would have to charge a substantial convenience fee to make it work.
So, for now, you have to pay your real property taxes by check or money order.
Q: What are the dates for the primary and general elections? And, what is the process to vote absentee by mail?
A: The primary election will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, and the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot for whatever reason, either by mail or at an absentee walk-in polling place before the election dates.
Information on elections can be found on the Web site for the state Elections Office, at www.state.hi.us/elections; or, call 453-8683.
According to the Elections Office, you must apply for an absentee ballot from the county you live in no later than 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16 to vote in the primary election and no later than 4:30 p.m. Oct. 31 to vote in the general election.
Applications will be accepted beginning July 25.
Applications are available at satellite city halls, the offices of city/county clerks, post offices, public libraries and all state agencies.
After you mail or drop off the completed application, you will receive a ballot and instructions on how to vote by mail.
The other option is to vote at absentee walk-in polling places, located at the various city/county clerk offices, as well as other designated sites.
The walk-in polling places for absentee voters will be open from Sept. 11-21 for the primary and from Oct. 24-Nov. 4 for the general election.
To get more information, as well as the locations and hours of operation, call the Honolulu City Clerk's Office at 523-4293; Hawaii County, 961-8277; Maui County, 270-7749; and Kauai County, 241-6350.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to email@example.com
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