Most of us have heard the phrase, “The times, they are a changing.” Fewer of us recognize it as the paraphrased title of Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “The Times They Are A-Changing.” Effective business leaders must not only recognize that times are changing but also be diligent in seeking out those available resources of change, which will be beneficial to the business process.
This diligence of seeking available resources so positive changes can occur applies not only to businesses but also to the governmental process of collecting property taxes and license fees by my office. We consistently search for better ways to do what we do for the property taxpayers and the taxing entities for which we collect, while keeping in mind that faster is not always more efficient.
The measures used by my office when a change is contemplated are basic: Does this change provide adequate transparency, make it better for taxpayers or taxing entities, and is it the right thing to do?
Since becoming Boone County Collector of Revenue in 1995, changes have become the byword for my office. Below are a few of the initiatives:
Installment payments on real estate property taxes: This service allows a homeowner to pay the estimated tax liability monthly during the tax year by remitting payments directly to my office, or we will electronically draw the agreed upon monthly amount from the homeowner’s banking account. When the tax bill is created, the amount previously paid is credited to the bill. Homeowners including property taxes in their monthly payments to a mortgage company may not use this plan. The number of property owners using this service has increased 47 percent since we began offering it in 2005. The service is particularly beneficial to retirees on fixed incomes and homeowners with no mortgage. It provides a way to budget an annual expense on a monthly basis.
Online services for Boone County property owners: Boone County residents are computer literate and expect government to provide electronic services that will be available beyond regular workday hours. Following are a few of the services my office has available:
- Pay real estate and personal property taxes online through our Web site with an electronic check or a credit card. This is year round so current and delinquent taxes can be paid online.
- County residents can renew motor vehicle registrations online because my office provides paid personal property tax information to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
- Taxpayers may change mailing addresses on our Web site.
- Property owners may search for their current or prior years’ bill information.
- Business owners can obtain merchant licensing requirements, verify licenses are current and/or print an application for a merchant’s license.
- Realtors, title companies and lenders can locate accurate property tax amounts when needed, and closing agents can use the calculator to determine the correct tax liability for property transfers.
The volume of transactions performed in my office increases every year, such as address changes, phone calls for information, payments processed, number of tax bills generated and collected, types of bills to be collected and the number of taxing entities for which taxes are collected.
The word change embodies modifying, transforming, adjusting, amending and revolutionizing. In our growing and prospering county, businesses and government must continue to embrace change in order to provide the best services possible to our customers and citizens.
Merchant Liceses FAQ
Other than questions regarding property taxes, the most common questions posed by residents relate to licensing businesses.
Who is a Merchant?
Every person, corporation, co-partnership or association of persons who deals in selling food, wares and merchandise at any store, stand or place occupied for that purpose is a merchant.
Do I need a Boone County Merchant’s License for my business?
Yes! If you answer yes to all the items in the checklist below:
- You own or operate a business; and
- The business is located in Boone County either within or outside the city limits of any incorporated area; and
- There is a sales tax number issued to the business by the Missouri Department of Revenue.
What’s the cost?
The annual fee is $25 for a calendar year license and is not prorated. Licenses expire December 31 each year and must be renewed.
My business has more than one permanent location. Do I need a license for each?
Yes!Nov 13, 2009 BY PATRICIA LENSMEYER