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Tips for Paying Your Bill
These few tips can make the bill paying process relatively painless and prevent charges and fees from accruing to your account.  We urge you to take a few minutes to read this carefully and suggest that you post it somewhere visible.

1.Paying Multiple Bills – Please remember that one check must be used for each type of bill(s).  For example, a water bill and real estate bill cannot be paid with the same check.  On the other hand, you may pay multiple bills of the same type with one check.  For example, multiple excise bills can be paid with one check.  The same is true for water/sewer and real estate.

2.Paying Bills Online Through Your Bank – This method of payment is becoming more common.  This method, however, creates challenges for this office in the processing of payments.  Our internal controls require that we post each payment against some sort of accounts receivable document.  Most often, this is the actual bill remittance coupon that is returned by the taxpayer/ratepayer with the payment.  When we receive a payment from your bank, however, there is no coupon or other supporting document to post against.  This means that we must access the bill on our accounting system and print a facsimile of the bill to post against.  Keep in mind that many people have water/sewer, real estate, and motor vehicle bills to pay throughout the year.  Ownership of multiple properties and motor vehicles further complicates processing a bank check the way that the payor intends.  Unfortunately all too often, bank checks arrive with either no bill reference at all, an incorrect bill reference, or a printed memo on the check to post the payment to the wrong type of bill.  In most cases, after spending a significant amount of time researching the payment to match to a bill or multiple bills, all ends well.  In some cases, we are simply unable to make the match and must return the check to the taxpayer/ratepayer.  In other instances, the payment is applied to a bill that the payor had not intended to pay with that check.  There are other variations on this theme but they are too numerous to list.  Clearly, you as well as our staff want payments to post to the correct bill(s) but we can only rely on your data input to assure that this happens.

We suggest that if you are going to pay bills online to the Town of Millis that you set up your online account at your bank with a general title such as “Town of Millis Taxes & Utility Charges”.  Then, as you process a check request, put the specific type/year/bill number(s) data in the memo section of the check.  Although we will still need to access the bill on our accounting system and print a support document prior to posting the payment, the process will be much smoother and greatly minimize the above mentioned problems for both this office and for the taxpayer/ratepayer.   Again, issue only one check for bill(s) of the same type.  Keep in mind that there is a lag time between ordering a check online from your bank and that check arriving here for processing.  Allow ample time for this lag.  We recommend 10 days.

3.Excise Tax Bills – Charges And Fees – The Town of Millis prints and mails excise tax bills.  The billing file itself is created by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and all data on the bills is generated by the Registry.  The Town of Millis contracts with a licensed Commonwealth of Massachusetts Deputy Collector.  When an excise bill becomes overdue, a Demand charge is put on the bill and the Deputy sends out a Demand Bill.  If the Demand Bill becomes overdue, a Warrant charge is put on the bill and the Deputy sends out a Warrant Bill.  The Deputy also puts a Deputy fee on the account.  If the Warrant Bill becomes overdue, additional charges are
put on the account to include another Deputy fee and a $20.00 Registry of Motor Vehicles “Flagging Fee”.  When the vehicle is flagged at the RMV, registration renewal will not be possible until the bill is paid in full.  All the while, the delinquent bill is generating interest at the rate of 14% as required by State statute.  Clearly, it is in the vehicle owner’s interest to pay excise tax bills in a timely fashion.  Failure to do so will result in significant charges and fees being placed on the bill.  Once a bill is delinquent, we must receive the exact amount required to pay the bill in full.  We will not make a partial payment to a delinquent motor vehicle excise bill.  While this may seem harsh, the policy is designed to prevent small balances from generating further charges and fees that are costly and might result in the vehicle being flagged for non-renewal at the Registry.  If an excise tax payment is being sent late or may arrive late, we urge you to call this office to determine the exact amount of your check remittance.

4.Excise Tax Bills – Paying Delinquent Bills That Have Been Turned Over To The Deputy Collector.  You may pay these bills at the Tax Collector’s Office in the Millis Town Hall with cash, bank check, or money order.  We have accepted personal checks in the past but find that the percentage of checks returned for insufficient funds is just too high.  You may pay by credit card by calling the Deputy Collector whose telephone number is on the late notice/bill.

5.Keep Records – During tax season, we receive hundreds of requests for tax information for the preceding calendar year.  These requests come at a time of the year when the office is particularly busy with the largest Registry of Motor Vehicle billing of the year.  We will respond to these requests but it may not happen immediately.  If printed data is required, we may charge 50 cents a page. Far better to keep a folder for each calendar year where you can file copies of your various tax bills (and water/sewer bills if you are a senior citizen qualified for the Commonwealth of Mass. state circuit breaker protection expense deduction).

When preparing your taxes, keep in mind the difference between calendar year and fiscal year.  Our fiscal year runs from 1 July to the following June 30th.  If, for example, you wanted to calculate your real estate tax for calendar year 2013, you would need to add up installments 3 & 4 of FY13 and installments 1 & 2 of FY14.  

6.Approximate Bill Mailing Dates – We frequently hear that a bill was never received.  We are usually told this just before being asked to “forgive” interest.  Chapter 60 Paragraph 3 of the Massachusetts General Laws states that failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve the taxpayer of the responsibility to pay taxes, charges, penalties, or fees.
Real Estate & Personal Property Tax Bills
Water & Sewer Bills

Motor Vehicle Excise Bills are mailed throughout the year.  These bills are created by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  The first billing, by far the largest, is mailed in late January or early February.  There are usually six or seven additional billings mailed throughout the remainder of the year.  Usually, if no changes have occurred from the prior years’ billing, the current year’s bill will be included in the first mailing.   If you have received a bill for a vehicle that you no longer own, call the Assessors office for more information and they will explain the abatement process.

Please click here to contact Jennifer Scannell with questions or comments.

Town of Millis • 900 Main Street • Millis, MA 02054 • (508) 376-7040
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