What Bills Can You Pay to the Collector?
The Tax Collector receives payments for Real Estate, Personal Property, Motor Vehicle Excise, Sewer Bills, and Parking Tickets as well as pro forma taxes and penalty taxes, i.e., rollback and conveyance (special assessments calculated by the assessor). All these bills may be paid at the collector’s office. However, there is an exception with motor vehicle excise and parking violations if they are late:
If Motor Vehicle Excise is unpaid after the 14 day demand stage and if parking tickets exceed the 21 day grace period, they are turned over to the Deputy Collector for processing. The town has appointed Kelley and Ryan Associates, Inc., 13 Airport Drive, Hopedale, MA (508-473-9660 or 508-473-9241) for the purpose of collecting delinquent motor vehicle excise and parking tickets. (The taxpayer may pay delinquent bills to the deputy in person, by mail or on-line by debiting an individual checking account or by charging the obligation to a credit card).
Payments In Person
You may pay your bills in person by visiting the collector/treasurer office on the first floor of Memorial Hall, 325 Main Street, Oxford, MA 01540 during normal business hours 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., M.-F, except for posted time changes and holidays. If a receipt is expected, the taxpayer should bring both halves of their bill to the tax office; both will be stamped paid and one will be returned to the taxpayer as evidence of payment. This is especially recommended for cash payments since there will not otherwise be proof of payment. If one pays by check, the check can become proof of payment. If there is a dispute over payment, the collector office will request proof of payment for the disputed tax. Failure to provide such evidence of payment may prevent resolution to the customer’s complaint. Therefore, it is very important to keep paid receipts.
Once the first-half property bill issues, a taxpayer may make partial payments toward the entire bill or, if so desired, pay the entire bill. One should examine the tax consequences of paying the total bill. If there is a cash flow difficulty, the taxpayer can make partial payments until the total amount is paid, subject to interest. The collector office will issue partial payment receipts that will indicate the current status of the obligations. Once the bill is completely paid, the actual bill (not a partial payment slip) will be receipted as paid.
Payments By Mail
Tax bill and parking payments (except as noted above) may be mailed to the Town of Oxford, Collector Office, 325 Main Street, Oxford, MA 01540-1727. Always remit sufficient sums to cover the actual obligation. Never remit a deficient sum or the invoice and payment will, in the case of motor vehicle excise, be returned or, in the case of property, applied as a partial payment. When in doubt, simply pick up the telephone and call the office for a payoff amount. All that is needed is a specific payoff date. You will be provided a payoff amount and, if need be, a per diem amount. If you desire a return receipt, please enclose both copies of the bill along with a self-addressed and stamped envelope. No receipt will be returned unless a return/postpaid envelope is included.
Town Hall Drop Box
The Town of Oxford maintains a drop box for the convenience of residents when they are unable to visit the town offices during normal business hours (M-F: 9a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). The box is located to the left side of the front entranceway. It should be considered as the last recourse alternative to payments made in person or by mail and the internet. If you choose this method for making a tax or some other type of payment, such as a sewer assessment, please remember to never put cash into the drop box. Remit by check and ensure that the town is designated as the payee. Bills will be retrieved from the drop box Monday-Friday at 9 a.m.; therefore, payments deposited after 9.a.m. will not be considered received until the following day. Bills deposited into the receptacle over the weekend (Friday after 9 a.m., Saturday, and Sunday) will not be considered received until Monday. Payments shall not be collected on Holidays, and so, payments will not be considered collected until the next business day.
Delinquent Tax Payments
Partial payments of any amount ($10 minimum) may be made toward real and personal property tax payments, but motor vehicle excise must be paid in full. It should be noted that the taxpayer has thirty days from the mailing of a property tax bill in which to make payment without penalties and interest. If a taxpayer is unable to pay the full amount due because of cash flow difficulties, it is recommended that as much as possible be paid toward the obligation before interest accrues. Remember, interest accrues on a property bill, not from the day it becomes late, but rather, from the date of mailing. If a person is one day late, he or she must pay 31 days worth of interest.
Failure to make any attempt to retire an overdue tax bill will result in a Tax Title action being placed against the property owner. Tax Title means the town takes title to the property until such time as the taxpayer pays his debt, or the rights to redeem the property are foreclosed in the Land Court, Department of the Trial Court in Boston. If the town is compelled to proceed in the Land Court, the property owner will lose all rights to the property and it will be auctioned to the highest bidder.
On-line Tax Payments
Residents may intend to pay their tax bills through a third-party vendor such as a bank or a bill paying service. This method of payment is not recommended since it can take up to three weeks to process or be returned to the taxpayer. If the town cannot immediately determine for whom or what type of bill is to be paid, the remittance will be returned to the taxpayer for appropriate documentation, i.e., the bill for the intended payment. An explanation of why this is the case can be found in the instructions for on-line payments.
For payments through the town’s on-line payment vehicle, it is recommended that the taxpayer read the appropriate instructions and have their checkbook at the ready so the Federal Reserve routing number and checking account number can be read from the bottom of their check. No credit cards can be used for the town’s on-line payment system.
Please do not send cash by mail. If cash is the intended method of payment, please make the payment in person at the town hall. Most importantly, bring in both copies of your tax bill, i.e., the remittance copy and the copy for your records so a paid receipt imprint can be made on your record copy for evidence of payment.
Payments made by check must be payable to: Town of Oxford. The town does not accept third party checks. If one must use a third party check, please cash the check at the bank before attempting to make payment to the town. The town must do this to prevent the difficulties in processing insufficient funds checks against third parties and identifying the obligation for which it was used.
Dishonored or Insufficient funds checks are pursued for collection through the Massachusetts court system. If a bad (dishonored) check is presented for payment, it will be prosecuted by notification first, and if not reconciled, then by an action of larceny by check via the court system. If payment is being made for a delinquent excise or parking ticket that is marked a the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for non-renewal, a bank check or money order will be demanded by the deputy before a release of the mark will be made at the RMV. All dishonored checks returned by the bank are subject to penalties in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 60§57A or, $25 if the check is less than $2,500 and 1% of the sum written if over $2,500. Additionally, payment for which the bad check was tendered will be returned to unpaid status.
When tendering a check, it must be dated no later than the date on which payment is made. Post-dated checks, or checks dated at a time when money will become available to pay the sum certain, will not be accepted. Post-dated checks received by mail will be returned to the customer unprocessed.
When are Payments Considered Received in the Collector Office?
Payments are considered received when physically accepted in the collector office. And, if the payment is received within the collector office on or before the due date, the payment is considered timely made. Postmarks are not acceptable indications of payment dates. Postmarked dates are indicative of when a bill was disbursed by the customer to the U.S. Postal Service, but delivery to the collector office may take up to 3 or more days. Hence, a postmark on the due date of a bill does not guarantee timely payment and may subject the bill to late charges and interest.