Lee County property owners who have procrastinated on paying their taxes this year will get a small reprieve this weekend.
Due to the tax deadline falling on a Saturday, property owners actually have until Monday to make a payment online, by phone, or in person.
If you're mailing your payment, you still will need a March 31 postmark or earlier for your payment to the Lee County Tax Collector's Office to be considered on time.
Failure to pay by the deadline will add a 3 percent penalty in April with advertising charges on top of that if still unpaid by May 1.
The good news?
Despite the still-sluggish economy, on-time payments are stronger this year with payment numbers for the county's 500,000-plus parcels up as the deadline approached Friday.
To pay online, visit www.leetc.com/ where you can pay by credit card (which adds a fee) or electronic bank check (which does not.)
For pay-by-phone payments, call the automated line at 332-8731 if you have your Lee County tax bill pin number handy, or call the main line at 533-6000 on Monday if you are going to need some assistance.
Or visit one of the tax offices. There is one in Cape Coral at 1039 S.E. 9th Ave, Room 102. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
And if you can't pay on time?
There are some options out there but they are going to cost you.
In addition to the 3 percent minimum mandatory charge assessed in April, an advertising fee is added in May.
Tax certificates are then sold in June, meaning there also will be interest due to redeem that certificate, which constitutes a lien on the property.
The tax office warns that "two years from April 1 of the year the certificate was sold, the certificate holder can initiate a tax deed application that will result in the loss of the property if the taxes remain unpaid."
Even in today's still-down market, that would not be a good thing.
Enjoy the weekend and whip out the plastic if you have to.
Getting property taxes paid on time is still the less taxing option overall.
- Breeze editorial