Appraisal of property, including approving exemptions, recording property details, sending the notice of appraised value, and accepting value protests, is handled by the Travis Central Appraisal District. For a detailed description of Texas Property Taxpayer Remedies, access Property Taxpayer Remedies, a publication provided by the State Comptroller.
Credit card and electronic check payments were requested by the citizens of Travis County. Because credit card companies charge fees, a "for-profit" vendor, Hamer Enterprises (DBA Government Payments), was contracted to provide processing services. Without a vendor, the tax office would not be able to offer credit card and electronic check payments because the Texas Property Tax Code prohibits collection of any fee other than the actual property tax due. Similar to federal, state, and other local government online payment portals, a convenience fee of 3% of the total payment is collected by the vendor for credit card transactions processed in-person, by phone, and online. A convenience fee of $1 is collected for electronic check transactions by phone and online. This covers the cost of the credit card company and electronic check processing fees and a portion goes to Government Payments. The charge on your bank statement for credit card and electronic check transactions will be listed as Government Payments. Travis County does not collect any portion of the fees.
There may be companies that offer lower fees, but none could meet Travis County's needs in the same way as the current vendor. Since 1994, Travis County has contracted with Hamer Enterprises (DBA Government Payments) to provide sophisticated property tax and voter registration software systems. "EZTAX" and "EZVOTE" continue to evolve and accommodate Travis County's tremendous growth, including integrated imaging systems, browser-based GUI (graphical user interface) and the capability to post payments and update voter records in real time. Posting payments and updating records in real time is a feature that no other company could match, barring a complete change in software systems. In 2004, Hamar Enterprises designed and launched the Tax Office website and continues to provide updates at no charge to Travis County taxpayers. In the market, such website design, launch, and integration with tax office systems would cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Government Payments does not have access to electronic check customer accounts; they work with the customer's bank. Further, when a mistake is made completing the form or if the customer's bank returns an "insufficient funds" notice, Government Payments contacts the customer to resolve the matter, which reduces staff time and helps the customer avoid additional fees.