How to Pay Tax Bills to the Town

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. 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. 

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 Bill Paying Services

Taxpayers who use third party vendors (computer payment services) to make tax payments to the Tax Collector office should be aware that although it appears payments are made instantaneously at the push of the SEND button on one’s computer, it can take up to three (3) weeks before payment is received and posted. 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. 
 

What happens when you hit the send button:

  • Your bank account is automatically debited
  • The vendor deposits the money into its account
  • Up to six days pass before they cut your check
  • The remittance has no reference information
  • Name of sender can be different than name of owner
  • Address of sender can be different than property location
  • No identification as to personal property, real property or motor vehicle excise, or sewer
  • Amount paid is different than amount billed
  • Delay in check printing and processing can result in late payment charges
  • Checks must be reproduced to provide back-up support for proof of payment; also as to what was paid
  • Checks can be mailed to the incorrect address

Cash Payments

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.


Checks

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


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.