Metro family, others blame Jackson County website issues for late tax payments and fees

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The dollars they’re being charged don’t make sense.

That’s the complaint from one metro family, angry over a late free they were charged on their Jackson County property taxes. They said they county’s website is to blame.

It’s a frustration that’s costing Marlene Haley’s family money. She’s one of several taxpayers who has complained to FOX4 that the county’s tax collection website didn’t work.

She said she tried multiple times on Dec. 31 to pay the taxes on her family’s home in Lee’s Summit. Haley said she tried no fewer than 10 times at multiple occasions throughout the day, but the website wouldn’t let her link accounts or pay.

Now she’s being charged a late fee that started at $25 — but has grown to $130.

Haley said the system permitted her to pay taxes on her son’s car that day, but whenever she tried paying on the house, “the website kept crashing,” she said.

“It would keep circling back to the initial front page of it, the homepage, every time I’d hit to try to pay,” Haley continued.

Haley said this was the first time she’d ever chosen to pay on the website instead of in person.

Earlier this week, Jackson County spokesperson Marshanna Smith told FOX4 the website would accept payments until 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. But the Haleys said they saw a $25 late fee when they tried to pay before the deadline on Dec. 31, making them hesitant.

“Assessing a late fee when it’s not even late is probably not even legal,” said Bill Haley, Marlene’s husband. “We were trying to pay our taxes like we should, but we were unable to because, in this case, the government let us down.”

They Haleys aren’t alone. FOX4 has received other unsolicited emails from taxpayers complaining the website didn’t work.

But on Thursday, Smith said the county hadn’t received any complaints.

“It is a big pain in the butt, and now, I truly am late in paying my taxes,” Marlene said. “I don`t have five hours to go down there and sit and wait in line.”

Jackson County updated the software on its tax collection website in early 2019. But Smith said tax collectors monitored the website closely Tuesday. Despite more than 13,000 tax payments that were received, she said there were no issues on their end.

Smith said there’s no grace period or forgiveness planned for those late fees.

Although it’s a relatively small dollar amount, the Haleys and others believe the fee isn’t right. Marlene and Bill said they’re likely going to pay, but it doesn’t seem fair.

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