Do your property tax payments go to a named person?

I just paid my property taxes and it really pisses me off that I have to make out the check to Harry E. Hagen, Treasurer-Tax Collector. What’s to stop this Harry Hagen fucker to cash a bunch of checks and run off to some third world country? I used to make it out to some chick named Bernice James.

All right, it’s probably difficult to wander down to the Bank of America and cash two million in checks, but still, this pisses me off. I have to change the payee in my Quickbooks ledger every time we change the treasurer. This makes no sense at all to me.

Despite the ludicrousness of the aforementioned scenario, it would be very easy to cash the occasional $8000 property tax check and wreak some havoc on some poor schmuck who doesn’t figure it out until he starts getting delinquent tax payment notices months down the road. There are plenty of asshole corrupt public figures out there.

I own a condo in Utah and I pay taxes to the sensibly titled Summit County Treasurer. I assume there was some egotistical asshole treasurer in the 1800’s who decided that they should pay taxes to him and that the county board of supervisors are just too chickenshit or lazy to change it.

I actually wrote the board of supervisors an email to complain about it, but I assume they are dismissing it as the rants of an unhinged crazy person.

I have to make my property tax check out to “Donald R. White, Tax Collector, Alameda County”. I have no idea who this Mr. White is, but he’s the same guy I’ve had to pay every year since I bought my house in 1997.

One category of taxes for my business is paid with checks made out to “Diane Murchison, County Clerk” and writing those checks does bug me a little bit.

What would happen if you made out the check to the office instead of the person? What if you just wrote the check to “Tax Collector, Alameda County” or whatever the official office name (or person’s title) is?

I’d bet it would work just fine if you did that.

I would think it would be better to have one person responsible for the checks rather than a whole office. It gives you the ability too actually talk to the person you wrote the check to, not to some vague office or secretary, but the actual person you wrote the check to. Doesn’t this just add to the transparency of government, something we can all agree is a good thing.

AFAIK, there’s nothing preventing the treasurer from cashing your tax checks and hopping a plane to Brazil except public trust and the fact that Brazil might toss his sorry ass back on the plane.

Just make checks out to “Treasurer, {name of county}.” I doubt if they will be rejected. Mine aren’t.

Huh. Coming from the UK I find that incredibly weird. I don’t know if I’ve just not seen it, but I never have. I’d always expect to write a cheque to an organisation, and I only ever write cheques to things like university societies which are too small to accept debit/credit cards or direct debit, I’d always expect taxes and utilities to come straight out of my bank account one way or another. To be fair, some people prefer cheques because if you pay by direct debit there’s no way of approving the specific amount in advance.

And who can forget Gerald Ferisimo?

I make mine out to the town I live in, not an individual. That doesn’t make me feel any better about it. :slight_smile:

Same here. I never heard of writing out a property tax check to an individual.

My bank collects extra money on the mortgage payment and pays the tax for me.

On the plus side, if someone does cash your check and abscond to an equatorial paradise, You pretty much know who did it!

I’m supposed to make my checks out to “Donald R. White, Tax Collector, Alameda County”, but I make them out to “Tax Collector, Alameda County”, which sits better with me, and fits better on the line.

I’ve done this for the last 24 tax checks, and haven’t had any revenooers out for me.

I write it to “Dawn Pasquierello, Receiver of Taxes.”

I think the point is that “Receiver of Taxes” is an elected position. By making you write the name each time, it will be familiar the next time she’s up for re-election.

That’s what mine does, too. My mom, whose house is paid for, makes her check out to “Treasurer-Tax Collecter”.

The check I write is made out to “Tax Collector, City of [Where I Live]” but the envelope is made out to the specific guy. In his case, there is a good reason to have his name involved – we have a city tax system where he pays the town a negotiated amount that is the amount they expect to collect in taxes (i.e., not the full billed amount because some people are going to shirk) up front, and then when people pay, they are paying him back his own money. It works out good for the town because they are guaranteed to get the full expected amount in taxes and can count on it all at once (plus more if the guy collects more), but it has to make tax shirkers reallly annoying to that guy!

Similar idea, but not property tax related…

Americans overseas may submit passport renewal applications to an embassy or consulate. There is a law specifying exactly how payments by check should be made out. Several consulates or embassies disregard the law and refuse payment made out in accordance with the law or in accordance with instructions on the State Department website.

Some ask for payment made out to Comptroller, U.S. Disbursing Officer, or some other officer title - frequently including the name of the individual (i.e. Joe Smith, US Disbursing Officer).

I’ll bet you that’s the exact reason: name familiarity for the next election. In which you folks apparently elect the receptionist and photocopy clerk at city hall too.

Illinois law explicitly prohibits any public official from requesting a check be made payable to their name.

This law was inspired, in part, by investigations into the dealings of the late Secretary of State Paul Powell who died in 1970 leaving behind a closet filled with shoe boxes (and other containers) holding $800,000 in cash, as well as an estate worth several million dollars. Up until that time, it had been customary to make checks payable to the individual office holders.

I found a bunch of old property tax receipts for my house in the attic a couple weeks ago. They were up in a box when I bought the place and hadn’t noticed them before but they go back to 1919. I was surprised to see that you used to make the checks out to the elected county official. It just seems like a crime waiting to happen (especially in Cook County, Illinois).