San Diego Claims First for Online Property Taxes

San Diego Co. has become the first county in California -- and one of a few counties nationwide -- to allow citizens to pay property taxes online, according to the county's chief deputy treasurer, Neil Rossi.

The county was able to launch the service in a mere two months, Rossi said, primarily by partnering with two private parties: CyberCash Inc. (www.cybercash.com), an online payment service that processes credit cards, and Lockheed Martin Corp., which handles government-to-citizen transactions via its Governlink site (www.governlink.com).

Its early to predict how well the system will be received, but after tax bills were mailed this spring, 263 people paid online for a total of $339,000 in revenue. And that's without advertising or organized promotion of the site other than a brief newspaper article. San Diego County, Rossi said, has been fielding phone calls from interested city and county governments from across the country.

To use the system, which debuted in late March, taxpayers log on to the county treasurer's World Wide Web site (www.sdtreastax.com) and enter the parcel number of their property. The system displays the amount due and asks if they would like to pay online. If so, the end user, along with his or her pertinent information, is transferred automatically to the Governlink site, where he or she enters credit card data.

Taxpayers are given a confirmation number, San Diego County gets its money in a day, and, as Rossi says, "Everyone is happy."

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