Although the deadline to pay personal property taxes in Missouri without incurring a fine will arrive in mere hours — midnight tonight — local county collectors say it won't be too late to pay if you miss that deadline.

"We have both the Joplin office at 601 S. Pearl Ave. and the office at the Jasper County courthouse at 302 S. Main St. open until 4:30 p.m. today," said Stephen Holt, Jasper County collector. "We also have a drop box for your convenience located at the south entrance of the Joplin office and at the west entrance of the courthouse in Carthage."

In Newton County, the collector's office in the courthouse, 101 S. Wood St. in Neosho, is open until 5 p.m. today for those who wish to pay their taxes in person, said Jim Otey, Newton County collector. Other options for payment include through the mail, online or over the phone by calling the number provided on the tax statement, he said.

Holt said Jasper County residents should note that online payments include a convenience fee that goes to the servicing company.

For those who are mailing payments, check with the post office to determine the deadline for items to be postmarked by today, Holt said. Any payment postmarked after today will have interest and penalty charges.

If the mail is postmarked later than today or the tax payment is late for any other reason, there is a one-time 9 percent penalty charge added and 2 percent interest charge added, Otey said. The interest charge will continue to go up 2 percent every month until it reaches 18 percent.

Collectors say that many have already paid their taxes, and while they are still waiting on some payments, collections are either slightly ahead of or on par with last year's collections.

"We had a lot of early payments in November, which is more than we usually get," Holt said. "Then it was kind of average; people didn't have to wait very much if they came in in the early part of the month."

Holt said the collector's offices in Joplin and Carthage have had a steady line of people today. This year's collections are running a little bit ahead of last year's, though specific numbers were not yet available, he said.

For the months of November and December, Newton County has collected nearly $30 million in property taxes, with a goal of around $39 million, Otey said. This does not count payments received in the mail that are still being processed.

"In my 16-year tenure here, typically by the time we have processed all of the December mail, we're usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 percent collected," Otey said. "I think we'll be in that ballpark this year as well."

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