OMAK – The Senate voted 47-0 to approve a measure sponsored by Sen. Brian Dansel that would give taxpayers more flexibility in how they can pay their tax bills.

“There used to be a time when we all had to pay our car insurance in one lump sum and with one method of payment; that is no longer the case,” Dansel, R-Republic said. “Now you can break those payments up into installments, use your debit card to make payments, or do electronic fund transfers.”

“Likewise, many taxpayers need flexibility and understanding in order to pay their tax obligations,” he said. “This bill will allow a county treasurer to accept partial payment of current and delinquent taxes, including interest and penalties, using any method he or she sees fit.”

Currently, if property taxes and assessments total $50 or more, taxpayers may pay one-half of the total by April 30 and the remainder by Oct. 31. If a taxpayer misses either deadline, the taxes are considered delinquent and interest and penalties are triggered.

Last year the Legislature modified the law to allow partial payments, but required those payments be made through electronic billing only. Senate Bill 5654 would expand the options to any method that a county treasurer approves.

“People are still struggling to keep the lights on and put food on the table,” he said. “Anything we can do to make it a little easier for them to balance their budgets and pay their tax bills is a step in the right direction.

“There’s also the added benefit that this might make it easier for our counties to collect delinquent taxes that would otherwise go unpaid. It’s truly a win-win for the counties and the taxpayers,” he said.